Employers cut fewer jobs in February than in January, but total layoffs remained high compared to a year ago as the energy sector continued to slash positions, according to the monthly report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
U.S.-based employers announced they would let go a total of 50,579 workers in February, marking the third-straight month they laid off more employees than the same period last year, the outplacement firm said.
Energy companies accounted for the most workplace reductions. More than 16,000 workers lost their jobs as oil prices remained low. The cost of a barrel of crude fell 60 percent between June and January before stabilizing last month.
“Usually what you have in times of strength is you have most of the job cuts coming from mergers and acquisitions, and you just don’t need two headquarters,” Challenger CEO John Challenger told CNBC. “But right now we’re seeing in the midst of this expansion one sector really is going through the change, and that’s energy.”