The number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms rose 13.5 percent in October on cuts in the pharmaceutical and financial sectors, a report on Wednesday showed.
Employers announced 45,730 layoffs last month, up from 40,289 in September, according to the report from consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
But for the first time in five months, the October figure was lower than the year-ago tally, which came in at 47,724. For 2013 so far, employers have announced 433,114 cuts, close to the 433,725 seen in the first 10 months of last year.
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The pharmaceutical sector saw the most layoffs, with plans to cut 10,585 employees. Those cuts came mostly from pharmaceutical giant Merck. Last quarter the company reported lower sales of its Januvia diabetes treatment—its biggest product.