(Reuters) – The number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms surged in January to its highest level in four months as retailers and financial firms cut jobs, a report on Thursday showed.
Employers announced 53,486 planned job cuts last month, up 28 percent from 41,785 in December, according to the report from consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
January’s job cuts were also up from the same time a year ago, gaining 38.9 percent from the 38,519 layoffs announced in January 2011.
A surge in job cuts at the start of the year is not unusual, the report said. January is historically the heaviest month of cuts, averaging 101,084 layoffs between 1993 and 2001.