CHICAGO, March 7 (UPI) -- U.S. outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said planned job cuts rose 37 percent from January to February.
There were 40,430 job cuts announced in January and 55,356 announced in February, the consulting firm said, noting it was the second consecutive month of increases.
February's announced layoffs was also 7 percent higher than the 51,728 announced in February 2012.
The year-to-date total of 95,786, however, is 9 percent lower than the first two months of 2012, when 105,214 job cuts were announced in January and February.
JPMorgan Chase announced the largest job cut total in February, making it known it would cut 19,000 positions in the next two years.
That pushed the financial sector well into the lead for the year with 30,302 industry-wide job cuts announced. The retail sector has posted the second highest number of cuts for the year with 8,955.