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Illinois planned job cuts down over year in Jan., up from Dec.

Updated: March 2, 2013 12:03PM

Planned job cut announcements by Illinois employers plummeted in January from a year earlier, but rose from December, according to a report released Thursday by Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Employers announced 1,488 planned cuts, down from 7,601 a year earlier when several big companies disclosed layoffs due to economic conditions and restructurings, including Abbott Laboratories, Archer Daniels Midland, Sears Holdings, Kraft Foods and Northern Trust.

Job cut announcements rose from 247 in December, a six-fold increase. The biggest cuts in January were at United Continental Holdings, which announced 600 planned cuts; and Ryan International Airlines, which announced 209.

Nationally, job cut announcements fell 24 percent year-over-year to 40,430. They rose 24 percent from December.

The January 2013 total was among the lowest on record.

“While GDP contracted by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, the relatively low job-cut totals we have seen for the last couple of months indicate that employers do not foresee a prolonged decline in economic activity,” John Challenger, chief executive officer of the firm, said in a statement.

The biggest job cut announcements nationally last month came from the retail sector, which announced 12,426 cuts; and the financial sector, which announced 7,611.

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