U.S. Firms Announce 104,530 Job Cuts In November, Survey Shows

By Agence France-Presse U.S. employers announced plans in November to step up job cuts, with the total exceeding 100,000 for the third month in a row, an industry survey showed Dec. 7. Employers posted 104,530 cuts in November, up 2.6% from the previous month, according to a survey sponsored by international outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas. Government workers were hardest hit, with 21,971 cuts, followed by telecommunications workers, with 21,158 job losses. "Not only are more companies announcing job cuts, there are more jobs being eliminated in each announcement," said the outplacement firm's chief executive, John Challenger. "This volatility could continue into 2005 as competition forces more companies to consider strategic combinations." On the same day the November job cut survey was released, household products giant Colgate-Palmolive announced that it would cut 12% of its global workforce -- about 4,400 jobs -- and close one-third of its factories over four years. Challenger said a weak labor market could hurt the crucial holiday shopping season. "The biggest worry for the economy is that the large number of lower-middle-class and middle-class Americans struggling to make it paycheck to paycheck will be short of discretionary income during the holiday shopping season," he said. According to official government figures released Friday, the U.S. economy added 112,000 jobs in November, disappointing economists expecting a stronger surge. The unemployment rate was 5.4 %. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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