Planned layoffs conducted by U.S. companies jumped 69 percent in January compared to the previous month, according to the latest report from employment consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
There were a total of 74,986 job cuts in January, up from 44,416 in December, the highest total since August, led by a strong share of financial sector layoffs.
Jobs lost in the financial sector made up more than one-fifth of the January cuts, or 15,789 jobs, up from 5,710 in December.
The pharmaceutical sector was the second hardest-hit sector, seeing 7,628 job losses during January.
Despite those losses, retail, leisure, hospitality, and professional and technical services saw employment gains during the month.
And job losses are a far cry from 2001 recession levels, when they averaged a whopping 140,000 cuts a month.
Challenger noted that recession level numbers can be avoided if the proposed stimulus package is successful.
Check out the latest list of mortgage layoffs, mergers and closures.