CHICAGO, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Job cuts announced by U.S. employers in November dropped sharply from November 2012, but held steady from one month earlier, a private employment firm said.
Job cuts for the first 11 months of the year are down 2.5 percent from the same period of 2012. So far this year, 478,428 job cuts have been announced by U.S. employers.
Although currently below last year's pace, job cuts could exceed 2012 if more than 44,934 job cuts are announced in December, the employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said Thursday.
If the numbers are consistent for three months running, 2013 will top the total of 523,362 job cuts announced in 2012.
Thursday's report said there was a "strong possibility" that 2013 layoff announcements could surpass the 2012 total, "considering that job cuts, while averaging 43,493 per month year-to-date, have averaged 45,449 over the last four months."
In November, 45,314 layoffs were announced, 0.9 percent below October's level of 45,730.
The company noted that the retail sector, with 9,998 job cuts announced, set the pace for layoff announcements in November, which "might be cause for alarm," given the industry was in the midst of its busiest season in the month.
However, two retailers raised the numbers dramatically in November, including Safeway Inc., which is closing its Dominick's grocery stores in the greater Chicago area with a loss of 5,633 jobs. In addition, Blockbuster in November said it would close the remainder of its video rental stores.
In Chicago, "there is a good chance that many of these workers will be re-hired by one of several grocery store operators that have agreed to purchase and take over many of the Dominick's locations," said Chief Executive Officer John Challenger.