US Planned Layoffs Jump 53%: Challenger Report

Job cuts jumped by 53 percent in May from April in the United States, with Hewlett-Packard's layoffspropelling the computer industry to the top spot among the biggest job cutters this year, a report by consultancy firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas showed on Thursday.

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Employers announced plans to cut 61,887 staff from their payrolls in May, 67 percent more than in the same month of last year. The figure represents the most job cuts since last September.

The computer industry dominated job cuts this month, with 27,754 layoffs, of which 27,000 were at Hewlett-Packard. Year to date, the computer industry announced 32,599 job cuts, followed by the transportation sector with 24,193 and the consumer products sector, with 21,846, the report showed.

"We may see more job cuts from the computer sector in the months ahead," John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a statement.

"While consumers and businesses are spending more on technology, the spending appears to favor a handful of companies. Those that are struggling to keep up with the rapidly changing trends and consumer tastes are shuffling workers to new projects or laying them off, altogether," Challenger added.

Another area to watch is the food industry, where job cuts are up 75 percent this year and where Hostess Brands – markers of Twinkies and Wonder Bread – filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the report said.

The Labor Department will release non-farm payroll figures for May at 8:30 a.m. New York time on Friday and analysts expect U.S. employers to have created around 150,000 jobs in May, sharply higher than April's 115,000.