Challenger: Telecom troubles increase June job cuts

Ongoing turmoil in the telecommunications industry helped increase the number of job cuts announced in June, according to Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

The total number of job cuts announced in June was 94,766, a 12 per cent increase from the 84,978 cuts posted in May, Challenger said.

The telecommunications industry alone recorded 30,455 cuts, or one third of June’s total job cuts — nearly double the 14,687 job cuts announced in May, the firm said. June marked the ninth time in 12 months that the struggling industry topped the job cuts list, Challenger said.

Telecom companies announced 165,840 job cuts in 2002, 85,809 more than the automotive industry, which ranked second with 80,031 job cuts this year. Telecom job cuts account for 23 per cent of all job cuts posted in the first half of this year, Challenger said.

However, the number of telecom job cuts announced in June was 24 per cent lower than the 124,852 jobs cuts announced last June, Challenger said. Challenger said the 292,393 job cuts announced in the second quarter of this year were 34 per cent lower than the 443,134 cuts posted in the first quarter and down 21 percent from the 370,556 cuts recorded in the second quarter of 2001.

Challenger said it expects to see telecommunications companies continue to cut jobs in the second half of the year, especially if companies merge operations.

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