Planned layoffs drop to lowest level in two years

Tomorrow morning the Labor Department will tell us how many jobs were created last month and what the new unemployment rate is. And this morning, we've got a sneak peak of sorts.

The number of planned layoffs at U.S. companies dropped to the lowest level in almost two years last month. That's according to the job placement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas. CEO John Challenger joined us live from Chicago to discuss the details.

"These layoffs were down 12 percent from where they were last month and down 37 percent from where they were a year ago," Challenger said. "We've had a very slow summer for layoffs; companies seem to be holding onto their people."

Challenger said the sectors that were seeing the heaviest cuts this month were in telecom and computer companies. Meanwhile, health care, energy and hospitality are industries that continue to do well in hiring.

"It's a positive report, but the problem is we're not seeing the kind of job creation we need to drive unemployment down," said Challenger. "We're expecting somewhere around 125,000 to 130,000 [jobs] tomorrow, and we need 200,000 to really begin to see much better news on that front."

He said he believes the unemployment rate will likely stay right where it's at.

"Companies are stuck in the mud. They're not letting people go -- if you have a job, you're pretty safe -- but they're also not going out and creating new jobs or investing in new businesses, which is the key to the real drop in the unemployment rate over the next year."

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.

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