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Layoffs rise for third month running

CHICAGO, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- U.S. companies announced 66,414 layoffs in July, the highest total in 16 months, a private consulting firm said Wednesday.

After a first half of the year with announced job losses the lowest since 2000, international outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said July's announced layoffs rose 60 percent over the previous month and 59 percent over July 2010.

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The job cuts announced in the month were "dominated by a flurry of large layoffs by a handful of private-sector employers," the firm said.

Companies that announced layoffs in July Included Boston Scientific, Borders, Cisco Systems, Lockheed Martin and Merck & Co.

Those five firms contributed 57 percent of the total, Challenger, Gray & Christmas said.

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