U.S. Firms Boost Job-Cut Plans, Trim Hiring

By Agence France-Presse American firms took a heavier axe to jobs in July and trimmed plans for new hires, an industry survey showed Aug. 3. Employers announced plans for 69,572 job cuts in July, up 8% from the previous month, said a survey released by the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas Inc. Compared with a year ago, however, cuts were down 18%. Meanwhile, hiring plans slumped 30% from the previous month to 26,880 in July. "There may be more hiring going on than our numbers suggest, since hiring announcements are not as common as job-cut announcements," says Rick Cobb, the company's executive vice president. "However, the decline in hiring that we are seeing, combined with continued downsizing, indicates that the job market is still struggling to gain momentum. "Some employers may be waiting to see how the election plays out before going ahead with hiring plans. In fact, in our recent survey, a surprisingly high 43% of human resource executives said their hiring plans could be altered based on the election's outcome." The survey was released ahead of Friday's official employment figures for July, widely expected to show a net gain of about 240,000 jobs after a disappointingly modest rise of 112,000 posts in June. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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