WASHINGTON - There were 53,486 layoff intentions announced in January, up from 41,785 in December and higher than the 38,519 job cuts announced in January 2011, job placement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, Inc. said in a report released Thursday. The data are not seasonally adjusted.
Layoffs in January were led by the retail sector, which reported 12,426 job reductions in the month. By comparison, there were 5,755 job cuts announced in the retail sector in January 2011.
Challenger said that January job cuts are usually the largest of the year. However, the report noted that the layoffs of seasonal holiday workers are usually not announced, so the jump in retail layoffs cannot be attributed to that seasonal trend.
Instead, the cuts in the retail sector in January are likely due to "restructurings, store closings, and other cost-cutting measures."
In other data released, hiring intentions fell to 7,568 in January from 14,078 in December and were down sharply from 29,492 in January 2011. January hiring plans were led by the automotive sector, which announced plans to hire 3,675 workers.
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