March Layoff Announcements Drop 20%

April 2, 2002 ( - In March, layoff announcements at US firms fell to the lowest level in 10 months, according to data from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Challenger reported that the number of job cuts announced over the month totaled 102,315, down 20% on the previous month’s total of 128,115.

Still, the figure remained higher than the monthly average recorded during the last recession. The outplacement firm cautioned that although the economy is showing early signs of a recovery, it’s too early to tell whether there is a strong improvement in the unemployment situation.

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The retail sector announced the most cuts last month, followed by the telecommunications industry, Challenger’s report shows.

The report comes ahead of Friday’s monthly unemployment report from the US Department of Labor. Economists polled by Reuters expect the figure to rise to 5.6% in March from 5.5% in February.