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Challenger: U.S. Job Cuts in February Up 37% From Previous Month

Dow Jones Newswires (03/07/13) Kristin Jones

Layoffs planned by U.S.-based companies increased 37% in February from the previous month, driven by job cuts in the financial sector, according to data from Challenger Gray & Christmas Inc. However, the cuts continued to be offset by more hiring. Planned hiring announcements, which represent a fraction of the actual hiring activity in the economy, totaled 92,372 in February.

U.S.-based employers in February said they planned to cut 55,356 jobs, 7% more than the same period a year ago. The financial sector accounted for 21,724 of those planned job cuts, with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. alone saying it would reduce its headcount by 19,000 over the next two years as it trims its mortgage business in response to an improving housing market. Challenger also notes 3,000 job cuts planned by United Technologies Corp., which may foreshadow further layoffs by aerospace and defense companies as wide government spending cuts take effect.