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2001 sets new record for job cuts

Setting a record for job losses, there were almost two million announced job cuts in 2001, almost three times as many as in 2000, according to Challenger, an international outplacement company that tracks job cuts on a monthly basis.

Finding something of a silver lining, Challenger said job cuts were tapering off after September's terrorist attacks. The 181,412 layoffs in December, while up 21 percent from a year ago, were 11 percent lower than in November, and November's figure, in turn, was down 25 percent from October.

Retail, not surprisingly, was among the hardest hit industries. "Retail job-cutting increased noticeably in the last quarter of 2001," said the company. "During the middle two quarters, monthly job cuts in the sector averaged 4,646. The average jumped 119 percent to 10,173 during the final three months."

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