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Ohio announced most job cuts last month

Ohio led the nation for the number of layoffs announced in January, according to the latest monthly report by global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Employers statewide announced plans to eliminate 16,104 jobs — more than twice as many layoff announcements as in the second-leading state, California, which announced 7,142 dismissals. Overall, the Ohio number represented about 15 percent of the 45,934 total U.S. payroll cuts announced in January, Challenger reported.

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January job cuts were concentrated in the retail sector, which accounted for 22,491 cuts last month — nearly 50 percent of all layoffs — as bricks-and-mortar merchants continue to reel from the shift toward online shopping, especially during the holiday shopping season.

Macy’s, the Cincinnati-based department store giant, announced more cuts than any other company last month when it disclosed plans to shut down 68 stores and slash payrolls by 10,000 workers.

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“Overall, it was a solid holiday shopping season, but several retailers, including Macy’s were unable to capitalize on stronger consumer confidence and spending,” said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

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While the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, there was a 37 percent jump in layoffs last month, compared to the same month a year ago — mostly related to department store closures.

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