Layoff Pace Slows Somewhat in May

June 5, 2001 ( Layoffs fell 52% last month from April's record high, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

May layoffs totaled just 80,140 after hitting their highest monthly count in eight years in April, according to the outplacement firm. The report broke a five-month streak of job losses of more than 100,000.

The report followed a Labor Department report on Friday that the U.S. economy shed just 19,000 jobs in May, far fewer than the 182,000 lost in April. However, Challenger, which tracks corporate layoff announcements, not actual job losses, reported 165,564 job cuts in April.

On the other hand, cumulative layoffs announced this year now total 652,510, more than the 613,960 in all of 2000. In fact, May job cuts were up 196% from the 27,031 reported a year ago by Challenger.

Year-to-date technology firms lead the layoff parade, with 102,996 layoffs announced so far this year. The automotive sector is second, with 83,547 cuts reported.

California, which has the most residents, also leads the nation in jobs lost ? 106,834 this year, nearly double the rate of second-place Illinois (56,711). Last year firms based in California announced just 42,366 layoffs.