Planned Job Cuts Jump 61% in March

Planned layoffs rose sharply in March, largely due to reduction of government payrolls, staffing consultancy company Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported Thursday.

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The number of job cuts planned rose by 67,611, up 61 percent from February.

But the number of planned layoffs remained well below the pace of the previous year, down 55 percent from March 2009.

Planned government cuts rose 75 percent last month to 50,604, with the US Postal Service planning to cut its payroll by 30,000 workers. The postal service is not permitted to lay off employees so will achieve the cuts by retirement and attrition, the report said.

"Most industries have seen sharp declines in the number of layoffs this year, compared to the beginning of last year," CEO John Challenger said in a statement. "The first quarter of 2009 really marked the peak of downsizing for this recession. Unfortunately, many people are still jobless and many businesses still shuttered."