Dot-gone slowdown?

The dark cloud hovering over internet businesses may clear yet, according to a report released today from an outplacement firm.

          The dark cloud hovering over internet businesses may clear yet, according to a report released today from an outplacement firm.

          New York-based Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which has followed the dot-com fallout for more than a year, says this month's layoff numbers hold some hope for those waiting for a tech industry turnaround. Although companies announced plans to cut 8697 jobs in July (four times as many cuts as were announced in July 2000), that was still the lowest monthly number of layoffs since October, when there were 5677.

          By comparison, there were 9216 layoffs announced in June.

          The largest number of layoffs came from internet companies that provide consumer services, such as the now-defunct Webvan Group. Layoffs in consumer services accounted for 3843 of the job cuts announced so far in July. June also marked the first time since February that technology firms didn't lay off the most workers.

          The layoffs were also spread among fewer companies, which isn't surprising since so many other companies have already gone out of business, according to John A Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

          While the month isn't over yet, Challenger says his firm tallies layoffs until the 27th or 28th of each month, then adds any later layoffs to the next month's numbers. Therefore some of this month's numbers, in fact, occurred during June.

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