Layoff announcements jumped from 30,623 in December to 45,107 in January with the retail sector leading the pack in the month after the holiday season, Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported.
Poor earnings during the holiday season prompted the heavy retail job cuts, the outplacement firm said.
Layoffs were announced in January at Macy's, Sam's Club, JCPenney, Sears, Best Buy and Target, as retailers in total cut 11,394 positions, a 71 percent increase over cuts announced in January 2013.
"Holiday sales gains were relatively weak and many retailers achieved the gains by slashing
prices on their products, which adversely impacted their year-end earnings. The post-holiday
job-letting in the sector was inevitable," said Chief Executive Officer John Challenger in a statement.
Job cuts were also announced by Intel and EMC Corp. in January due to changes in business strategies, the firm said.
The computer industry announced 6,456 job cuts in January. The financial sector announced 4,817 job cuts in the month after setting the pace for 2013 with 60,962 layoffs announced in the year.
Challenger warned the housing market recovery could lead to increased financial sector job cuts, as many banks added to their payrolls to deal with the mountain of foreclosures created during the recent recession.
With the number of foreclosure cases in decline, banks are apt to cut staff it hired to handle them, Challenger said.