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Econ Wrap-Up: Challenger Job Cuts, Trade Deficit, Productivity And Labor Costs

By Jennifer Coombs

Optimism for the jobs report was not off to a good start as Challenger's January Job Cuts report gave the first warning sign of serious trouble in the oil patch. The layoff count starts off 2015 with an elevated reading of 53,041; this is the highest reading in 52 weeks and also the highest January reading since 2012. The previous two readings in December and November were at much lower levels of 32,640 and 35,940 respectively. The energy sector represents about 40% of all of January's jobs cuts for a total of 20,193. In the fourth quarter alone, job cuts in the energy sector were minimal at an average of only 1,330 per month. According to the report, the sector seeing the second largest number of cuts for the month was retail at 6,699, but most likely can be attributed to downsizing after the holidays.

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