Job cuts increased for the third consecutive month in November, as employers announced plans to shed 57,081 workers from their payrolls. That was up 20 percent from the previous month when announced layoffs totaled 47,724, according to the latest report from global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
November cuts were 34 percent higher than the 42,474 job cuts announced by employers in the eleventh month of 2011. Last month was only the fourth time this year that job cuts exceeded 50,000.
Employers have now announced 490,806 job cuts this year. Despite the faster pace of downsizing as the year comes to a close, the year-to-date total is 13 percent lower than the 564,297 job cuts announced through November 2011.
The November surge was led by the food industry, which saw 19,709 cuts during the month. The bulk of those resulted from the bankruptcy of Hostess Brands which, after years of declining sales of its high-calorie snack cakes in a more health-conscious America, was forced to shutter its operations and dismiss all 18,500 employees.
The next largest job-cutting industry was the computer sector, which announced 3,313 job cuts in November. That was up 208 percent from the 1,076 announced by these firms in October. The computer industry remains the top job-cut industry for the year, with a total of 45,060 announced layoffs since January. About 60 percent of those cuts, however, were the result of the 27,000 job cuts announced by Hewlett-Packard in May.