Job Cuts In 2013 Down To 509,051. Lowest In 16 Years.

Job cuts announced by U.S. employers in 2013 came to their lowest total since 1997, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

With December layoff announcements totaling 30,623, a low for the year,  the year’s total came to 509,051, a drop from the 2012 tally of 523,362 and the lowest annual figure in 16 years.

Layoff announcements in December were 32%  lower than November’s 45,314. The peak for 2013 came in February with 55,356 job cuts announced, followed by August with 50,462 and March with 49,255.

For the full year, the total came in 3% lower than 2012.

For the year, financial firms announced 60,962 job cuts, a sharp increase from 41,008 in 2012. Healthcare firms announced 52,637 cuts, also a significant spike from 2012, when the sector announced the loss of 36,212 jobs.

Retail firms also reported job cuts were up in 2013, with 49,299 layoff notices compared with 32,868 in 2012.

Among the top five industries announcing layoffs, computer firms were the exception, announcing fewer layoffs than 2012 with 35,136 compared to 46,164.

New York set the pace for layoffs in 2013 with 82,952, followed by California (59,535), Illinois (43,431), Texas (32,327) and Pennsylvania (25,193).

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