Layoffs surged in January to the highest levels since July as employers in the retail and energy sectors pulled out the pink slips, according to a private survey out Thursday.
U.S.-based companies announced 75,114 planned job cuts last month, up more than 200 percent from a 15-year low in December, according to global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That figure was also 42 percent higher from a year ago.
Retailers were the biggest job cutter, despite a nearly 8 percent bump in U.S. holiday sales in 2015. The sector slashed 22,246 positions, a seven-year high.
Wal-Mart accounted for much of the payroll reductions. The nation's largest retailer said it plans to close 269 stores and expects to let go 16,000 workers.
Macy's said it will also shutter some locations this year, costing 4,820 employees their jobs.
Challenger, Gray & Christmas CEO John A.Challenger said the shift from in-store selling to online transactions is playing a major part in the scaling back of retail work forces.