Job Cuts Topped Two Million in 2001

January 3, 2002 ( - The number of jobs lost last year was the highest since Challenger, Gray and Christmas started keeping count in 1993, according to data released by the outplacement firm.

Total job cuts in 2001 almost topped two million – almost triple the number of layoffs in 1999, and nearly 1.3 million more layoffs than in the previous record year of 1998, when 677,795 jobs cuts were announced.

Challenger’s monthly data shows that fewer job cuts occurred in December, compared to November – the total for the final month of the reaching 161,584, and 11% increase on November’s total of 181,412.

December’s job cuts represent a 21% increase on the same month the previous year.

Two-fifths of 2001’s job cut announcements took place after the September 11 attacks, which aggravated an already bleak employment picture.

The telecommunications industry was hardest hit in 2001, with 317,777 jobs lost in this sector, according to Challenger.