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April job-cut announcements tumble 43 percent from March: Challenger survey

  • Outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas says companies announced plans to cut 36,081 jobs in April, a 43 percent decrease from March.
  • The 176,460 job cuts announced in 2018 is more than 8 percent higher than the same period of 2017.
  • Tech companies announced 23.8 percent fewer cuts in 2018 than in 2017, Challenger says.
Liz O. Baylen | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Companies announced plans to cut 36,081 jobs in April, a 43 percent decrease from March, a private survey reported Thursday.

The improvement from March's spike of 64,141 was not enough to erase an increase in job-cut announcements this year. March's total was considerably larger than January's 44,653 and February's 35,269.

The 176,460 job cuts announced in 2018 is more than 8 percent higher than the same period of 2017.

"An increase in large-scale job cut announcements could be on the horizon," CEO John Challenger said in a statement.

April bucked the trend of increasing job cut announcements, which hit a height in March when the most job cut announcements were made in a single month in nearly two years.

Retailers announced the most cuts in April — 7,844. Retail leads all sectors in job cuts this year, with 64,370 — far surpassing the next two closest sectors, health and consumer.

Technology companies have announced 23.8 percent fewer cuts in 2018 compared with last year.

"The tech industry has seen a number of new disruptive trends over the last year, including blockchain, more advanced artificial intelligence, and virtual reality," Challenger said. "Companies in this industry are investing in these new technologies and that means creating more jobs."

The report comes a day before the Labor Department releases its March jobs data. On Wednesday, ADP and Moody's Analytics said U.S. companies hired 204,000 employees in April, slightly above expectations.