Planned job cuts up 14% in 2011

@CNNMoney January 5, 2012: 7:41 AM ET
With pressure on governments to cut spending and the European debt crisis still unresolved, financial and government jobs are likely to continue to struggle in 2012.

With pressure on governments to cut spending and the European debt crisis still unresolved, financial and government jobs are likely to continue to struggle in 2012.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Planned job cuts dropped in December but were up 14% overall for 2011, according to a report from outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

December's total of 41,785 announced lay-offs was a 1.6% drop versus November, and was the lowest monthly total since June. Total announced job cuts for 2011, however, hit 606,802, up from the 529,973 announced in 2010.

The increase in cuts was driven primarily by lay-offs in government and financial sector jobs, which together accounted for 41% of all announced job losses.

With pressure on governments at all levels to cut spending and the European debt crisis still unresolved, both these sectors are "likely to continue to struggle in 2012," Challenger CEO John Challenger said in a statement accompanying the report.

The retail sector also struggled last year, with weak consumer spending contributing to a 32% increase in announced job cuts, the Challenger report said.

The reports come one day before the Labor Department issues its closely watched monthly employment data for the month of December.

A CNNMoney survey of economists forecasts that American companies added 150,000 jobs in December, and that the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.7%.  To top of page

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