Announced layoffs fell in August, pulling back from a sharp hike in July, according to data released Thursday by outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas. There were about 40,000 announced layoffs last month, down from 47,000 in July, and 50,000 a year ago. The tech sector led August's layoff announcements, with a large cut from Cisco Systems. Employers have announced about 333,000 cuts this year, down 4% from the same period in 2013. "For many of the industries where job cuts are on the rise, economic weakness is not the driving factor," Chief Executive John Challenger said. "The cuts appear to be motivated by fundamental changes in the industry."

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