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Report: Most U.S. Layoffs in Years

December 26, 2001

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CHICAGO (AP) _ The United States is on pace to record more job losses in 2001 than it has in at least nine years, the job placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said.

Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, U.S. companies have announced 624,411 job cuts, more than the 12-month totals for every year from 1993-1997, the job placement firm said.

Through the end of November companies had announced close to 1.8 million job cuts in 2001, nearly three times more than were announced in 2000 and the largest number since Challenger began tabulating such figures in 1993.

``This year the downsizing just dwarfs anything we’ve seen before that,″ John Challenger, chief executive officer of the company that tracks employment trends, said Wednesday.

The worst year prior to 2001 was 1998, when 677,795 job cuts were announced.

The job losses cut across three significant economic sectors: manufacturing/industrial, high technology and travel, Challenger said. Challenger compiles figures from job cut announcements and does not count actual job losses, which can come from firings, early retirements and attrition.

The telecommunications industry led the way with 292,756 planned cuts through November.

Besides the struggling economy and the Sept. 11 attacks, Challenger pointed to two other trends that seem to have led to more layoffs: an increase in mergers in recent years and a ``frenzy of overhiring″ that occurred as the economy soared in the mid to late 1990s.

Challenger said he has also been struck by the fact that even industry-leading companies are now downsizing.

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