241,749 Jobs Lost in January

Economy takes toll on jobs

For American workers buffeted by layoffs and cutbacks, January was as bad as it felt, as indicated by key employment reports released Wednesday.

The number of planned cuts announced in the month rose to the highest level in seven years, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. And ADP’s National Employment Report found that private-sector employers cut 522,000 positions.

Job cut announcements by U.S. employers soared to 241,749 in January, up 45% from December’s 166,348 cuts, according to Challenger. That was the highest number of job cuts since January 2002.

Layoffs rose 222% – more than triple – from January 2008, when 74,986 job cuts were announced.

On the heels of the worst holiday season in decades, the retail sector was hit the hardest. Boosted in a large part by Circuit City, 53,968 job cuts were announced.

Following retail, the industrial goods industry cut 32,083 jobs last month, while the computer, pharmaceutical and aerospace industries also notched large losses.

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