U.S. Firms Announce Deeper Job Cuts In September

By Agence France-Presse U.S. firms announced the steepest job cuts in eight months in September and also slashed hiring plans, a survey showed Oct. 5. Employers announced 107,863 job cuts in September, up 45% from August, said a survey released by the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas. It was the biggest one-month cut since January. Compared with a year ago, job cuts were up 41%. "The return to six-figure job-cut levels paints a grim picture for ongoing economic growth, as such activity is generally considered a measure of how companies view future business conditions," said the firm's chief executive, John Challenger. Firms also announced 16,166 job openings, down from 132,105 in August, the survey said. The outplacement firm began tracking job openings in May, and the figures are often volatile. Challenger said the last quarter of the year was often the period when firms made the heaviest job cuts. "This period can also be a time for hiring since companies are looking ahead to the new year and making budget and staffing decisions," he said. "Weak hiring announcements last month are not a good indication of stronger job creation to come." Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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