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Companies announced plans to cut 29,831 jobs in October, a decline of 3 percent from last year, a private survey reported Thursday.
From January to October, employers announced just over 351,000 layoffs, the lowest total for that period since 1997, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas said. October's total represents a 7.8 percent decline in layoff announcements from September.
"Companies are currently holding on to their workforces, but this may be the calm before the storm," CEO John Challenger said in a statement.
Retailers have announced the most cuts this year — 72,600. That's nearly 37 percent higher than the period last year.
Health care led industries in job cuts announced last month, with 6,373. That's nearly four times the amount of job cuts announced for the sector from October last year.
The Challenger report comes a day before the Labor Department releases its October jobs data. On Wednesday, ADP and Moody's Analytics said U.S. companies hired 235,000 employees in October.