Telecom, computer firms post biggest layoffs

Telecommunications and computer companies have posted the largest number of job cuts since January, according to outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

For the first nine months of this year, telecommunications companies have cut 225,231 positions, while computer companies have posted 131,658 job cuts, according to Chicago-based Challenger.

The total number of job cuts in major industries since the beginning of the year is 1,371,688, Challenger said.

Job cuts reached a record high 248,332 in September, and of those, 200,807 were announced since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. September job cuts were 77 per cent higher than the 140,019 cuts posted in August and 421 per cent higher than the 47,687 announced in September last year.

For September, computer companies announced 20,915 cuts; telecommunications firms posted 11,794; electronics firms logged 14,541; and e-commerce companies posted 740 job cuts. With 96,333 job cuts reported in September, mostly from the hard-hit airlines, the transportation sector became one of the top five industries eliminating jobs, cutting 128,131 positions since the beginning of the year.

John A. Challenger, CEO of the outplacement firm, said the upside to the news is that many industries will be expanding as a direct result of the billions spent by the government on counterterrorism efforts.

“Job opportunities are described on the front pages daily as new emphasis is put on several industries, including security, communications, defense, medical equipment and supplies, as well as continuing significant opportunities in health care,” he said.