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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, November 5, 2002

U.S. employers planned to cut 176,010 jobs last month

By Brendan Murray
Bloomberg News

WASHINGTON — U.S. employers announced the second-highest number of job cuts this year during October, a private survey found.

Businesses last month announced plans last month to eliminate 176,010 positions, more than double the September level and the highest since 212,704 in January, according to the placement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Telecommunications firms last month announced plans to cut 33,801 jobs, more than any other industry, the survey said. Computer makers, with 17,843 announced job cuts last month, ranked second on the list, and transportation companies were third, announcing plans to eliminate 14,842 jobs.

"The economy desperately needs some type of spark to jump-start a turnaround," John Challenger, the firm's chief executive officer, said in a statement.

The October increase came a month after September's 22-month low in the number of job reductions announced, according to the survey. Businesses announced plans to eliminate 70,057 jobs in September, according to Challenger's figures.

In the first 10 months of the year, U.S. companies have publicly stated plans to eliminate 1.18 million jobs, down from 1.61 million announcements through October of last year, according to the survey.

Last month Lucent Technologies Inc. said it would cut 10,000 jobs, Corning Inc. said it would drop 2,200 positions, and Abbott Laboratories said it planned to end employment for about 2,000 workers.

Job-cut announcements aren't the same as firings because many of the planned reductions will be carried out through attrition or early retirement. Some employees find work elsewhere in their companies, and many announced staff reductions never take place because business improves.