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Despite the bloodbath in retail, job cuts plummet in April, Challenger report shows

  • U.S. employers announced plans in April to cut 36,602 jobs, a 15 percent decrease from March, Challenger report shows.
  • Last month's job cuts were 43 percent lower than the 64,141 recorded in April 2016.

U.S. employers announced plans in April to cut 36,602 jobs, a 15 percent decrease from March, outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported Thursday.

Last month's job cuts were 43 percent lower than the 64,141 recorded in April 2016. Employers have announced a total of 162,803 planned job cuts through the first four months of 2017, down 35 percent in the same period a year ago.

"Although restructuring in the retail sector continues to shed jobs, we aren't seeing the wide-scale layoffs in other sectors, like energy or tech," said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Retail had the most job losses in April with 11,669 job cuts, bringing the 2017 total to 50,133, up 36 percent from job cuts announced the in the first fourth months last year.

"Retail right now is dominating with many store closings, several thousand store closings announced so far this year," Challenger said on "Squawk Box."

The energy sector has cut 8,725 for the year, an 87 percent decrease. Computer firms announced 840 job cuts in April. That's 95 percent lower than the 17,015 cuts in that sector in April 2016.

The Challenger numbers came a day after ADP and Moody's Analytics said companies added 177,000 jobs in April, above the 175,000 expected from economists surveyed by Reuters.

On Friday, the Labor Department releases its closely watched monthly employment report.

Challenger said the economy seems to be in a "holding pattern," as companies await the outcome on President Donald Trump's proposed tax reform.

The White House released an outline for tax reform last week.