Planned Layoffs Rise 20% in January

The number of planned layoffs at U.S. firms in January rose 20% from the previous month to 38,519, but the tally was still the lowest for a January since at least 1993, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Noting that January was typically a month of large job cuts, global outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas said in its report that the slowdown in job cuts that began in the latter half of 2010 appeared to be continuing.

Challenger said the January total was the lowest for that month since the company began tracking monthly layoff announcements in 1993.

Job cuts in January were led by the government and non-profit sector, it said.