Keeping Track: job cuts

By one count, a 40 percent drop in February

In another sign that the economic slump may be easing, announced job cuts hit their lowest level in eight months, according to the Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which has tracked job cuts since 1993.

Still, the six-figure job cuts underscore what many economists have been warning: Unemployment will get worse before it gets better. The rate, currently at 5.6 percent, is expected to top out at 6 or 6.5 percent by the middle of the year. Telecommunications was the industry hardest hit in February, with nearly 36,000 planned cuts.

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