December job cuts down 39 percent

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December job cuts plunged 39 percent to 44,416 from 73,140 during November, making it the second lowest job-reduction total for 2007, behind the 42,897 during July.

The December figures were also 18.7 percent lower than the same month a year ago when employers announced 54,643 job cuts, according to a Challenger, Gray and Christmas update released today.

This marks the fourth consecutive month and the eighth time in 2007 in which the job-cut total was lower than the previous year.

With the December decline, 2007 job cuts totaled 768,264, or 8.5 percent fewer than the 839,822 cuts announced in 2006.

The 2007 total is the lowest since 2000 and continues the downward trend in annual job cuts since reaching a record high in 2001.