Employers at U.S.-based companies announced plans to cut 52,988 jobs from their payrolls in January, 20.7 percent higher than the 43,884 announced in December, according to a report released Thursday from global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

January’s total is 18.7 percent higher than the 44,653 cuts announced in the same month last year. While it is lower than the average of 86,347 cuts announced during the month of January since 1993, it is higher than 20 of the last 24 monthly totals.

“Employers are continuing the trend of reducing staff that we saw in the fourth quarter of last year, as several industries pivot to emerging technologies. Companies are battling economic uncertainty and, while consumer confidence was high, consumer spending missed estimates at major retailers during the holiday season,” said Andrew Challenger, Vice President of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

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