The number of planned layoffs remained virtually unchanged in February, as U.S. employers announced workforce reductions totaling 51,728 during the month, down slightly (3.3 percent) from the 53,486 layoffs recorded in January, according to the latest job-cut report released Thursday by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
Last month’s total was up 2.0 percent from a year ago, when employers announced 50,702 job cuts in February. Overall, the pace of downsizing is up 18 percent over last year, with 105,214 job cuts announced through the first two months, compared to 89,221 during the same period in 2011.
What may stand out most about 2012 job cuts so far is not the number of layoffs, but the source. Last year, job cuts in the first two months were dominated by the government sector; a trend that would continue throughout 2011. Through the first two months of 2012, job cuts have been concentrated in consumer products and transportation.