Internet firms have announced 10,459 job cuts so far this month – a 19 per cent rise over November’s record reductions, according to a study released today by Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

“There are very heavy losses going on right now,” said CEO John Challenger, adding that he has heard dot-com executives use terms like “nuclear winter” and “financial tsunami.”

Nevertheless, Challenger said, talented IT people laid off in the wave of dot-com retrenchments are having little trouble finding new positions. “Those people are very hirable,” he said. “They are experiencing basically little friction in moving to another company.” They may not be as flooded with offers as they were six months ago, Challenger noted, but they’re still in demand.

“There’s no stigma for having worked for a dot-com,” he said.

While a large number of so-called Internet pure-plays are retrenching, many mainstream companies that entered the e-commerce world cautiously are now ramping up their operations and need more personnel. In addition, some Internet companies are still expanding. Challenger, Gray & Christmas doesn’t track job growth.

Dot-com layoffs accelerated markedly this year. In the first half of 2000, dot-coms announced a total of 5,097 job cuts. In the second half of the year, that figure increased sevenfold to 36,177.

Just yesterday, EarthWeb announced it was selling some of its content sites to; an EarthWeb spokesman told Computerworld that between 90 and 98 people would lose their jobs as a result.

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