Planned Layoffs Drop 12 Percent

Planned U.S. layoffs fell 12 percent in October on a reduction in the number of announced firings in the financial and housing-related sectors, an independent report showed Wednesday.

Announced cuts totaled 63,114 in October, down from September's level of 71,739, according to employment consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

While the financial sector's total of 10,515 was nearly twice the next-biggest industry, automotive, that level was 61 percent below the 27,169 layoffs announced in the financial sector the previous month. It was the fewest number of announced financial sector job cuts in three months.

October job cuts were 20.5 percent lower than the recent peak of 79,459 in August. They were 8.8 percent lower than October 2006 when employers announced 69,177 job cuts.

Year to date, employers have announced 650,708 job cuts, 8.1 percent fewer than the 708,406 cuts announced by this point a year ago.

"It may be too soon to declare an end to the crisis in housing and the credit markets, but this is definitely a very positive report. In addition to the slowdown in financial-sector job cuts, the report indicates that most areas of the economy have remained relatively insulated from the turmoil caused by the housing slump," said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.