By BridgeNews U.S. layoffs totaled 124,852 in June, up 56% from May, according to the Chicago-based Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. monthly report of job cuts. Job cuts have now exceeded 100,000 six out of the last seven months, with the six-month total for this year at 770,362 compared with 223,421 during the same period last year, the report said. The six-month total for this year is already 15% higher than the total of 677,795 job-cut announcements in 1998, which was the biggest job-cut year of the last decade, the report said. On a year-over-year basis, layoff announcements were up 624% in June compared with 17,241 job-cut announcements during the same month last year. On a quarterly basis, job-cut announcements were slightly lower in the second quarter compared with the first quarter. Job-cut announcements totaled 370,556 in the second quarter, down 9% from a total of 406,806 in the first quarter. Out of all the major industries, telecommunications led the group with 27,446 job-cut announcements, bringing its six-month total to 130,442. This total is 49% higher than the second-ranked auto industry's 87,613 job-cut announcements this year. The other industries with a high number of job-cut announcements are computer with 74,723; industrial goods with 59,496; and electronics with 59,181, the report said. Still, John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, says that the "good news" is that workers who have been displaced by corporate downsizing are still in demand. "This is why the unemployment rate has not increased at nearly the same rate as job cuts," Challenger says. He says that unemployed Silicon Valley high-technology workers are "exceptions." "Most tech workers can find ample opportunities outside of the Bay Area, probably in an area where the cost of living is much lower too," he notes.