NEW YORK (Reuters) -- The number of job cuts announced by U.S. employers surged 125 percent in October, after declining for two months, calling into question the strength of the recovery in the job market.
Planned layoffs at U.S. firms shot up to 171,874 jobs in October, from 76,506 in September, job placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said on Tuesday. Announced layoffs were at their highest since Oct. 2002, when 176,010 job cuts were announced.
"With factors like technology, outsourcing, and consolidation working against job creation, any job market rebound we see in the near future will be relatively small," said John Challenger, chief executive at Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in a statement.
Some analysts were heartened by the September employment report, which showed payroll numbers rose by 57,000. In addition, last week the number of initial jobless claims fell to 386,000, the fourth straight week that claims were under 400,000, which economists consider as a critical level for the labor market.
Even yesterday's manufacturing report from the Institute for Supply Management said the pace of factory job cuts was slowing.
Analysts are eagerly awaiting Friday's report on the employment situation. According to a Reuters poll, economists on average forecasted payrolls increased by 55,000.
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