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Challenger, Gray And Christmas Report Nationwide Layoffs Up 24 Percent From Last Month

By Kendra Ablaza, Staff Writer

January 31, 2013 - National outplacement services company Challenger, Gray & Christmas announced 40,430 planned layoffs this month with 1,795 planned for California. The number of layoffs rose 24 percent from the 32,556 in December 2012.

However, layoffs plans this month were also 24 percent lower compared to the 53,486 layoffs announced a year ago. According to company records, January 2013’s total was the third lowest January total since 1993, following 1995 (38,962) and 2001 (38,519.)

The majority of January job cuts were made to the financial and retail sectors. The top three reasons for planned layoffs were restructuring, closing and cost-cutting, company officials said.

The company also predicted this month’s 60,585 planned hiring announcements to offset the rise in layoffs. The majority of these announcements will come from home improvement retailer Lowe’s, which plans to add 54,000 seasonal workers nationwide, the company reported.

“While GDP contracted by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, the relatively low job-cut totals we have seen for the last couple of months indicate that employers do not foresee a prolonged decline in economic activity,” John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said. “In fact, recent data showing increased consumer spending, including a 14 percent increase in purchases of durable goods and increased home sales and home prices, suggest that the economy is heading upward in the early part of the new year.”

Challenger also noted that the housing market has the most promising news this year. He said prices are rising, which allow more people to sell without accruing a significant loss.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is releasing the national labor statistics for January tomorrow.