Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Phew! Employers Cut Fewer Jobs in October Than Expected

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Phew! Employers Cut Fewer Jobs in October Than Expected

Article excerpt

Announced layoffs by governments and businesses, at 42,759, were the fewest since June, says a new report. That's a big improvement over September's 155,730 job losses.

In a positive sign for the US economy, governments and businesses did not cut jobs in October nearly has much as they had initially planned. 

At the same time, companies have announced many more hiring plans than layoffs, as they gear up for the holiday season, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based outplacement company. 

Economists view the news as an indication that the US economy may be getting over the shocks of the past summer, when Congress and President Obama engaged in a stare-down over the debt ceiling limit and the stock market fell sharply. The hiatus in layoffs is also related to the fact many state and local governments made their big cuts this summer and are no longer axing workers.

"What the numbers had showed is that companies got worried over the summer and took immediate action, and now that they are less worried, layoffs are back to where they had been," says Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors in Holland, Pa.

According to Challenger, planned job cuts fell 63 percent from September, which had been the highest in at least two years. Announced job cuts came to 42,759, the lowest number since June and a sharp drop from the 155,730 in September.

The Challenger report comes two days before the Labor Department announces the October unemployment numbers. Wall Street economists expect job gains of 130,000 to 140,000 in October. The unemployment rate is expected to remain close to 9 percent.

In September, the economy added only 103,000 new jobs, and the unemployment rate was 9.1 percent.

Separately, ADP, a payroll processing firm, said Wednesday its monthly survey found that private employers added about 110,000 jobs in October. …

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