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Challenger: Fewer Planned U.S. Job Cuts in July

By Kristin Jones Planned layoffs fell for the second straight month in July, but the good news may be short-lived, according to data from consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. U.S.-based employers said in July that they planned to cut 36,855 jobs, down 45% from a year ago, and down 2% from June. This is only the third time in 2012 that employers have announced fewer job cuts than the same month in 2011. The job-cut tally for the year reached 319,946, up roughly 2.5% from the same period a year ago. Financial firms led the downsizing in July, saying that they planned to cut 6,156 jobs. Morgan Stanley (MS) and Citigroup Inc. (C) alone have shed more than 5,500 workers since the beginning of the year, the firm said. Fallout from the European crisis--as well as U.S. banks' bad bets--could continue to take a toll on the sector, said the consulting firm's Chief Executive John A. Challenger. The transportation industry and retailers also unveiled layoffs. "While the decline in job cuts over the past few months is good news, it is not unusual to see these types of slowdowns during the summer months," said Mr. Challenger. Employers may be holding off before the election, and the fourth quarter traditionally is heavy on job cuts, he added: "So this may simply be the lull before the storm." Write to Kristin Jones at kristin.jones@dowjones.com Subscribe to WSJ: http://online.wsj.com?mod=djnwires

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