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Job cuts fell 3.3 per cent in February, following a surprising spike in January, new data out of Challenger, grey & Christmas shows. Layoffs impacted some 51,728 workers, which was 2.0 per cent above year ago year levels.
In January, layoffs surged 38.9 per cent to 53,486.
Job cuts were largely fuelled this month by distress in the consumer goods and transportation industries. Together, those two sectors accounted for 54.0 per cent of total layoffs in February.
According to Challenger, the pace of layoffs is up 18 per cent compared to year ago levels, when layoffs were focused in the government sector. So far 105,214 cuts have been announced this year, compared to 89,221 through the same point in 2011.
Last year, layoffs were heavily focused in the government sector and many municipalities told Challenger they have little room to cut further in 2012.
“It is too soon to say that the government sector is out of the woods when it comes to layoffs,” Challenger CEO John Challenger said. “However, recent gains in employment across many states are undoubtedly helping to boost payroll tax revenue. Furthermore, many states and local municipalities have already cut to the bone and may have little room for additional cuts.”
Texas was hardest hit during the month, shedding 13,422 positions, followed closely by New York at 10,794.
Businesses reported that bankruptcy and restructuring accounted for 67.5 per cent of layoffs.