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January shows slow down in job cuts

January shows slow down in job cuts
Waiting for a bus ride home, a man leaves a labor agency office without a job in Denver on November 6, 2009. Unemployment rates hit 10.2 percent, the first time it has surpassed 10 percent since 1983. UPI/Gary C. Caskey | License Photo

CHICAGO, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Announced layoffs in January fell 46 percent compared to the same month a year ago, consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said Wednesday.

The firm said employers announced 38,519 job cuts in the month, 20 percent more than December. The sharp drop from a year ago, however, marked the lowest total job cut announcements for a January since the firm began tracking the data in 1993.

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Traditionally, January is the "heaviest" job cut month with an average of 104,560 from 1993 through 2010, the Chicago-based international outplacement consultancy said.

In December, 32,004 layoffs were announced, the lowest monthly total since June 2000.

"It is not unusual to see job cuts increase in January.," said Chief Executive Officer John Challenger. "Even in the 1990s, when annual job cuts were relatively low, January still averaged more than 74,000 job cuts," he said.

Government and non-profit businesses had the most layoffs in the month, 6,450, followed by retailers, who announced 5,755 job cuts, the firm said.

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