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Challenger: August Job Cuts Up 5 Percent From July

NEW YORK (DJN) -- Despite the tightest labor market condition in decades, corporate America continued to cut jobs at the fastest pace of the decade, a report from the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. said Wednesday.

Job cuts announced in August totaled 57,253, a 5 percent increase from the prior month and a 54 percent rise from August of last year. August was the 17th month in a row that job-cut totals were higher than the same month in the previous year, and the 12th consecutive month that the total exceeded 50,000, the report said.

Job cuts during the first eight months of 1999 reached 495,510. That was 38 percent higher than the same period in 1998, which had been the biggest downsizing year of the decade.

The computer sector posted the highest number of job cuts, with 12,397 announced.

Other sectors announcing job cuts in August included commodities, with 8,680 announced, and services, with 6,333.

While layoffs continued to surge, the U.S. economy created jobs at a slower pace in August, with non-farm payrolls expanding 124,000 compared with 338,000 in July, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent in August, a level last seen in 1970.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm, tracks layoff announcements and releases its Challenger Employment report monthly.

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