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Number of Planned Layoffs Falls Sharply

(Bloomberg News)

The number of planned job cuts by major U.S. businesses declined in May from a year earlier as the unemployment rate sank to a quarter-century low, a survey found. Planned cuts fell 31.9% last month, to 21,004 from 30,845 during May 1996, according to the monthly survey by employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. For the year to date, announced job cuts are running about 26% lower than the first five months of 1995. The bulk of May’s job cuts were in consumer spending, commodities, industrial goods, computers and transportation, Challenger said. On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the jobless rate declined to 4.8% in May, the lowest since November 1973. Compared with a month earlier, though, planned dismissals increased 38.1% from 15,214 in April, which was the lowest job-cut total in four years.


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