US layoffs rise to 45,346 in July as cuts in energy sector spike

The pace of layoffs announced by U.S.-based companies rose for a second-straight month in July, as the U.S. energy patch once again shed workers.

Employers last month said they would cut 45,346 jobs, a 19 percent increase in planned payroll reductions from June, according to the report by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

The energy sector accounted for 17,725 of the job losses last month, bringing the industry's 2016 total to nearly 95,000, Challenger said Thurssday. The layoffs include 1,000 cuts at ConocoPhillips , equal to 6 percent of the workforce at the world's largest independent oil and gas exploration and production company.

"We did see a resurgence in energy-sector job cuts. This was somewhat unexpected in light of recent projections of increased oil prices and possible labor shortages in the industry," Challenger CEO John A. Challenger said in a statement.

The computer industry also continued to shed workers. The sector's 9,875 announced layoffs last month brought its 2016 total to 49,464.

On a year-over-year basis, U.S.-based firms handed out 57 percent fewer pink slips in July than during the same period last year, when cuts jumped to a four-year high due to a round of military personnel layoffs.

Layoffs are also lower year to date, down 8.7 percent from the January-to-July period last year.

The Challenger report comes a day before the Labor Department releases its July jobs data. On Wednesday, payroll processor ADP reported the United States added 179,000 positions last month.

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