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This year's plans for job cuts at lowest level since 1997, Challenger report says

  • Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas says companies announced plans to cut 35,038 jobs in November.
  • It says the number is up 30 percent from the same month last year.
  • Layoff plans this year are highest in retail.
  • The year-to-date figure through November was the lowest since 1997.
People walk along Wall Street in New York.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Companies announced plans to cut 35,038 jobs in November, an increase of 30 percent from last year, a private survey reported Thursday.

From January to November, employers announced just over 386,347 layoffs, the lowest total for that period since 1997, outplacement consultancy firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas said. November's total represents a 17 percent rise in layoff announcements from October.

"Major M&A activity, such as the CVS/Aetna deal and the possibility of Amazon buying generic pharmaceutical manufacturers, could lead to a spate of large-scale job-cut announcements to open 2018 ," CEO John Challenger said in a statement.

Retailers have announced the most cuts this year — 74,665. That's nearly 29 percent higher than the period last year.

Health care led industries in job cuts announced last month, with 7,011. The industry has seen more than twice as many job cuts announced this year from 2016..

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 190,000 employees in November.