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Job cut surge seen possible for early 2009

CHICAGO, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Uncharacteristic job cuts over the summer could result in the biggest post-Labor Day downsizing in six years, a job consulting firm predicted Tuesday.

The forecast came in the year-end job outlook by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which predicted the cut backs to run over into the first three or four months of 2009.

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The report said further that if the layoff surge continues it could significantly lower holiday spending by consumers.

Job cuts in 2008 are on track to surpass the 2007 total of 768,264. If the pace recorded over the last three months continues through December, the 12-month total will exceed 1 million for the first time since 2005, when employers announced 1,072,054 cuts.

"It was only a matter of time before the job market began to buckle under the pressure of the housing market collapse, the banking crisis and high oil prices," said Challenger Chief Executive Officer John Challenger, "We began to see the job-cut surge in late April and it has not subsided yet. Since April, job cuts are averaging about 95,000 per month."

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