Planned Layoffs Surge To 3-Month High, And Bloodbath May Not Be Over

planned layoffs

Planned layoffs at U.S. firms rose for the third month in a row in November, partly driven by the bankruptcy of Hostess Brands, a report showed on Thursday.

Employers announced 57,081 job cuts last month, the highest level since May and up nearly 20 percent from 47,724 in October, according to the report from consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

November's job cuts were also up 34.4 percent from the 42,474 seen a year ago.

With one month left of 2012, employers have announced 490,806 cuts in 2012, lower than 2011's total of 606,082 layoffs.

Twinkies To Blame?

The recent surge in layoffs is at least partly attributed to the bankruptcy of Twinkies maker Hostess in November. That accounted for 18,500 of the jobs lost. The computer industry, which has led layoffs for the year, cut 3,313 jobs last month.

"Job cuts this year have really been driven by a handful of large-scale cuts," Rick Cobb, executive vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said in a statement.

The approach of the Christmas holidays does not necessarily offer respite, Cobb said, pointing to the 11,000 job cuts that Citigroup announced on Wednesday as an example.

Wall Street Wields An Axe

The Citigroup job cuts were part of a larger bloodbath taking place on Wall Street in 2011 and 2012. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Wall Street eliminated some 300,000 financial services jobs in the last two years. And experts predict that more layoffs on Wall Street will be coming in 2013.

"The knives are sharpened and ready," Jason Kennedy, chief executive officer of London-based search firm Kennedy Group, told Businessweek. "...Unless the markets pick up, there will be more cuts in the first half."

The Challenger report comes a day ahead of the key U.S. jobs report, which is forecast to show job growth slowed sharply in November in the wake of superstorm Sandy.

AOL Jobs contributed to this report.

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