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U.S. employers' layoff estimates grow in September

In the worst planned-layoffs report since April 2009, employers say they expect to cut 115,000 workers. But there were positive findings as well.

October 06, 2011|By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
  • Job fair administrator Kat Quarterman, center, registers job seekers and distributes paperwork outside the Metropolitan Pavilion before the start of the fair in New York on Sunday.
Job fair administrator Kat Quarterman, center, registers job seekers… (Emile Wamsteker, Bloomberg )

U.S. employers said in September that they had plans to lay off 115,000 workers, according to a report by employment consultant firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

That's more than double the planned layoffs reported by Challenger in its report on August, and more than three times the cuts planned a year earlier.

Indeed, it was the worst planned-layoffs report by the firm since April 2009.

The September report, released Wednesday, includes government offices and the military. They account for a third of the planned job cuts, including a five-year goal by the Army to thin its ranks by 50,000.

Also in September, Bank of America said it would cut 30,000 workers over several years.

"Bank of America is not the only bank still struggling in the wake of the housing collapse," John A. Challenger, chief executive of the firm, said in a statement. "And the military cutbacks are probably just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to federal spending cuts and layoffs."

But the findings weren't all dour. Toys R Us said it planned to hire about 40,000 people to handle its holiday shopping rush. That's about the average number of holiday hires for the company.

Also, Halloween City and Party City, both owned by Amscan Holdings Inc., said they would be hiring a combined 26,000 workers.

A separate report from payrolls processor ADP said private-sector employment rose by 91,000 jobs in September. The increase, termed "modest" by the report, was led by 60,000 additional positions in small businesses, which have been averaging 73,000 new jobs a month for the last year.

Medium-sized companies also did well, adding 36,000 employees, ADP said.

In another report released Wednesday, the Institute for Supply Management said service companies lost jobs for the first time in 13 months. Among the industries that made cuts were real estate, construction, hotels and restaurants.

The most prominent monthly jobs reports comes from the Labor Department. Its report for September will be released Friday.

tiffany.hsu@latimes.com

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