Job cuts surged 218 percent in January

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Layoff announcements surged 218% in January compared to the prior month, led by the retail and energy sectors.

The latest monthly report on planned job cuts from staffing firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas showed that US employers reported a total of 75,114 planned job cuts, up 42% year-on-year.

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Retailers moved the needle on this data point the most, particularly Walmart, which announced plans to close 269 stores across America.

So really, that's the catch behind the big month-on-month jump.

Planned job cuts by Macy's that would affect nearly 5,000 employees also pushed up the total, according to the release.

And then, energy-sector layoffs are making a comeback, according to the staffing firm.

John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said "The pace of downsizing in the energy sector ebbed in the second half of 2015, but the latest activity, which included more cuts from Halliburton and Schlumberger, is evidence the industry is far from concluding its cost-cutting initiatives."

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