Job cuts announced by U.S.-based employers surged 292% from February’s total of 56,660 to 222,288 in March. March was the first month to report job cut announcements specifically due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report released Thursday from global outplacement and business and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

The March figures include job cuts announced by specific companies in the United States and tracked by Challenger. It does not include the hundreds of thousands of workers who were furloughed in March.

Last month’s total is 267% higher than the 60,587 cuts announced in the same month last year. It is the highest monthly total since January 2009, when 241,749 cuts were announced.

In the first quarter of 2020, employers announced 346,863 job cuts, up 82% from the 190,410 cuts announced in the first quarter last year. It is the highest quarterly total since Q1 2009, when 562,510 cuts were announced.

Who is hiring?

Please accept statistics, marketing cookies to watch this video.