In the first 10 months of the year, employers have announced 433,725 layoffs, putting 2013 on pace to come just shy of 2012, which ended the year with 523,362, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said Wednesday.
Last year's total was the lowest since 1997, the company said.
The pharmaceutical industry set the pace in October with 10,585 job cuts announced, the majority of those announced by Merck. The finance sector came in with the second highest total on the month, as employers announced their intentions to lay off 8,717 workers, the highest total for the sector since February, the report said.
Among the states, New York has been hit the hardest by job cut announcements with 70,482 in the first 10 months of the year, followed by California with 48,056, Illinois with 35,107, Texas with 29,279 and New Jersey with 21,517.
In the South, Florida has the highest total with 17,319 announced job cuts.
Look for announced spending cuts or attempts to rein in costs and job cuts will follow, Chief Executive Officer John Challenger said.
"If there is one thing, both political parties agree on, it is the need to somehow slow the sky-rocketing cost of healthcare," he said.
They may disagree on how to do that, but "regardless of what path is taken, lowering healthcare costs is likely to force healthcare providers to reduce their headcounts," he said.
Similarly, he said, government spending cuts "will ultimately lead to increased job cutting both within and outside of the government," he said.
"Not only will government agencies need to trim payrolls, but the hundreds of private-sector companies that sell products and services to the government will also be forced to reduce their workforce levels as the revenue stream from this customer slows," he said.