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Due to auto supplier and telecom cutbacks, U.S. job cuts surged in September, with the economy losing more than 100,000 jobs for the first time since January, according to a monthly job cut report by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a New York-based global outplacement consultancy.

Job cuts jumped 54 percent in September, according to the Oct. 3 report, up to 100,315 from 65,278 in August.

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The first six-digit job cut announcement since January, and the third increase in job cuts in 2006, September’s cuts were driven by heavy job slashing in the automotive industry, specifically at Ford Motor, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler. The auto industry cut 33,745 jobs in September and 36,299 in January of this year.

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The telecommunications industry also contributed to the hike with 10,059 jobs cut in September, its largest number of per-month job cuts since March. The computer industry as a whole announced 27,291 cuts in just August and September.

“September is just the beginning of what is typically the heaviest job-cutting period of the year. It is not out of the realm of possibility that we will see another 300,000 job cuts by the end of the year. The economy grew at an annual rate of just 2.6 percent in the second quarter and consumer spending, adjusted for inflation, fell 0.1 percent in August, factors that could lead employers to make further adjustments to production and staffing levels,” said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, in a statement.

The effects of the housing market’s several-month slowdown can also be seen in September’s numbers, as both The Home Depot and Pulte Homes announced cuts.

Amid the bad news, the report also revealed that plans have been announced by employers to hire a total of 27,801 workers, with the largest number of jobs being created by railroad giant Union Pacific, which says it plans to add 1,750 train service employees.

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