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Planned job cuts by Illinois employers plummet in December but up for year

Updated: February 5, 2013 6:25AM



Planned job cut announcements by Illinois-based employers plummeted in December from November and from December 2011, according to a report released Thursday by Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Employers announced only 247 planned job cuts, plunging from 4,645 in November and down from 1,887 announced in December 2011.

The biggest cuts announced last month were at Northwestern Hospital, with 110.

In November, 980 cuts were announced at U.S. Cellular and 900 at Career Education Corp., helping drive up the overall monthly number.

For the year, employers announced 26,163 job cuts, up 12.3 percent from 23,291 in 2011, but well below the 35,749 announced in 2010 and the whopping 79,323 that were announced in 2009.

Nationally, job cut announcements dropped 43 percent from November to 32,556, and fell 22 percent from December 2011.

For the year, job cuts fell 14 percent from 2011 to 523,362, hitting the lowest level since 1997.

“We saw a few spikes in monthly job cuts in 2012 and there were some significant mass layoffs that definitely reminded us that not every industry is enjoying the fruits of recovery,” John Challenger, chief executive officer of the firm, said in a statement. “However, the overall pace of downsizing was at its slowest since the end of the recession. In fact, we have not seen this level of job cutting since before the dot.com collapse and subsequent 2011 recession.”

Among major job cuts announced nationally last year was 27,000 at Hewlett-Packard in May and 11,000 by Citigroup in December.

Industry sectors announcing the most planned cuts last month were the financial sector with 11,735 and the transportation sector with 4,844.

For the year, the biggest cuts were in the computer sector with 46,164 and transportation with 42,107.



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