Dot-com layoffs down slightly; overall job cuts in U.S. up 56%

Dot-com layoffs are at their lowest level since last November, while overall job cuts in the U.S. are up 56% from a month earlier, according to reports by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

According to the Chicago-based firm, which tracks job-cut announcements daily, layoffs at Internet-related companies fell for the second consecutive month in June, to 9,216, a decrease of 31% from May's 13,419 cuts (see story). Layoffs in May fell 24% from April's record high of 17,554. June's cuts are the lowest since last November's 8,789.

Despite the decline, the staff reductions this June are significantly higher than the 1,652 recorded in June a year ago, the company noted.

June's numbers brought the six-month job-cut total to 74,199, more than 14 times higher than the 5,097 cuts recorded during the same period a year ago.

For the fourth consecutive month, Internet technology firms led all other dot-com categories, with 5,817 jobs eliminated. Dot-coms offering professional services such as advertising, marketing and consulting had 1,185 cuts in June, while consumer service firms reported 1,130.

"We are seeing more job cuts from well-known companies vs. the mom-and-pop category that seemed to dominate the earlier waves of dot-com cuts," said John Challenger, the outplacement firm's CEO, in a statement. "It would appear that many of the smaller, independent dot-com firms have been swallowed up by their larger competitors or have fallen into bankruptcy and eventual closure."

Meanwhile, in a report released today, Challenger said overall job-cut announcements by U.S. companies rose 56% in June, to 124,852, up from 80,140 in May, bringing the six-month total to more than 770,000. Challenger said this is the sixth time in seven months that layoffs exceeded 100,000.

According to Challenger, this June's job-cut numbers increased 624% compared with June of last year, when job cuts totaled 17,241 -- a three-year record low. Job cuts in the first half of 2001 totaled 777,362, 27% higher than the 613,960 layoffs reported in all of 2000.

Challenger said the telecommunications industry led other business sectors with 27,446 cuts in June, bringing its six-month total to 130,442. The number was 49% higher than the second-ranked automotive industry, which reported 87,613 job cuts this year. The computer industry reported 74,723 job cuts for the year, while industrial goods had 59,496 and electronics reported 59,181.

The jobs eliminated in June include 4,006 in the automotive industry, 8,950 in the computer industry, 22,698 in the industrial goods area and 7,515 in electronics .

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