Layoffs reach 250,000 for month of September

1.4 million layoffs so far this year

With the U.S. economy under unrelenting pressure, and corporations cutting costs by slashing jobs, almost a quarter-million layoffs were announced in September alone, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., an international outplacement firm that tracks announced job cutbacks.

But the jobs outlook is far worse than that report suggests, since Challenger tracks only layoffs publicly announced by companies, and the latest reading does not include New York jobs directly lost in the attack on the World Trade Center, as stores, restaurants, hotels and financial services companies were destroyed or shuttered in the disaster.

September layoffs, said Challenger, totaled 248,332, up 77 percent from August and more than five times higher than the number recorded in September 2000.

"September is the largest job-cut month so far in 2001," said Challenger. "Seven of the 10 largest job-cut months recorded since 1993 have occurred this year."

Well more than half a million job cuts — an extraordinary total of 594,326 — were announced during the third quarter, said Challenger, up more than 60 percent from second-quarter numbers. And this year's total was more than three times as high as the third quarter of last year.

Through the first nine months of 2001, an unnerving total of 1,371,688 layoff announcements have been made — more than double the total for all of 1998, the largest job-cut year since Challenger began tracking layoffs in 1993.

Hardest hit was the transportation sector, with 96,333 job cuts announced in September, most at the nation's airlines. So far this year, a total of 128,131 jobs cuts have been announced in the transportation industry. Only telecommunications and computer firms have announced more layoffs so far this year, following the collapse of the dot-coms.

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