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High-Tech Layoffs Easing Up

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The high-tech sector, which has been slammed with heavy job cuts for the past two years, seems to be getting a break.

The cuts are still coming but the numbers are lower than in recent quarters, mirroring the overall U.S. economy.

Telecommunications and the computer sector announced 54,278 job cuts from January through May. That is 67 percent fewer cuts than the 165,391 logged in the same period last year, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., an international outplacement firm based in Chicago.

In the overall U.S. job market, the number of job cuts plunged 53 percent to a 30-month low of 68,623, compared to 146,399 in April. Analysts at the outplacement firm say this significant drop in lay offs could be signaling an end to the job-cutting spree that has plagued American workers since 2001.

May’s numbers were the lowest since November of 2000, when 44,152 jobs were cut. May’s cuts brought the total in 2003 to 570,817. That’s 11 percent lower than the 640,761 layoffs announced in the first five months of 2002.

”the character of the economy in the last year has been start-and-stop,” says John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas. ”Right now, the overall job-cut trend is downward. It is highly likely that companies will now take a breather, with the job-cutting frenzy of the last three months abating.”

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