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Pace of US layoffs slows in August; employers announce 32,188 cuts: Challenger

Job cuts decline in August

The number of announced layoffs by U.S.-based companies fell in August to the lowest level since May, global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported Thursday.

U.S. employers announced they planned to hand out 32,188 pink slips last month, a 29 percent decline from July. The August total was also 22 percent below the number of job cuts at this time last year.

The computer sector was the biggest job-cutter, with Cisco Systems accounting for most of its 6,103 payroll reductions. The maker of networking equipment announced it would let go 5,500 employees last month.

Year-to-date layoffs among computer companies are more than double last year's total.

"The surge in cuts does not necessarily signal weakness in the sector, but it certainly signals a shift. In most cases, we are seeing these firms move from making hardware to providing services," John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a statement.

The industrial good sector was also hard hit, losing 3,073 jobs as materials and equipment makers who count energy companies among their customers continued to feel the spillover effects from persistently low oil prices.

The entertainment and leisure sector ranked third in announced layoffs, due primarily to the closure of the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, which affected 2,845 workers. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn said earlier last month he could no longer keep afloat the casino once owned by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The biggest job cuter of the year, the energy sector, saw payroll reductions take a pause in August. The majority of the 2,430 layoffs in the sector came from solar companies including SolarCity and SunPower.

The announced job cuts in August brought the 2016 total to 391,288 — 10 percent below the same eight-month period last year.