Survey: Employers announced plans for fewer layoffs in February



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UNDATED (AP) — Fewer workers were losing their jobs last month, according to outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Challenger says job cuts announced in February totaled less than 42,000, down 7.3 percent from January. Challenger says that's 24 percent less than a year ago and the lowest February total since the turn of the century.

CEO John Challenger says this isn't what he'd expect if "the economy is about ready to tip over or we're near recession." He says the relatively low number of layoffs suggests an improving business climate has reduced pressure on employers to cut jobs. At the current pace, he says, the first quarter could see the fewest job cuts since 1995.

The heaviest job-cut activity last month was in the financial sector. Challenger says some of those cuts were related to cutbacks in mortgage lending as interest rates rise, but a lot "were due to the ongoing shift away from branch banking toward increaded mobile banking."

%@AP Links

155-a-12-(John Challenger, CEO, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in AP interview)-"the year 2000"-John Challenger of Challenger, Gray and Christmas says employers announced fewer than 42,000 job cuts in February. (6 Mar 2014)

<<CUT *155 (03/06/14)££ 00:12 "the year 2000"

157-a-15-(John Challenger, CEO, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in AP interview)-"cuts since 1995"-John Challenger of Challenger, Gray and Christmas says fewer than 87,000 planned job cuts were announced in January and February. ((longer version of cut in wrap)) (6 Mar 2014)

<<CUT *157 (03/06/14)££ 00:15 "cuts since 1995"

156-a-07-(John Challenger, CEO, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in AP interview)-"we're near recession"-John Challenger of Challenger, Gray and Christmas says the relatively low number of layoffs announced in February indicate an improving business climate that's eased the pressure on employers to cut back. (6 Mar 2014)

<<CUT *156 (03/06/14)££ 00:07 "we're near recession"

158-a-15-(John Challenger, CEO, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in AP interview)-"and clicks strategies"-John Challenger of Challenger, Gray and Christmas says the financial sector had the most job cuts last month, and cutbacks in mortgage lending operations amid rising interest rates weren't the only reason for those layoffs. (6 Mar 2014)

<<CUT *158 (03/06/14)££ 00:15 "and clicks strategies"

154-w-35-(David Melendy, AP correspondent, with John Challenger, CEO, Challenger, Gray & Christmas)--Fewer workers lost their jobs last month. AP correspondent David Melendy reports. (6 Mar 2014)

<<CUT *154 (03/06/14)££ 00:35

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The Associated Press

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