Layoffs surged in January to the highest levels since July as employers in the retail and energy sectors pulled out the pink slips, according to a private survey out Thursday.U.S.-based companies announced 75,114 planned job cuts last month, up more than 200 percent from a 15-year low in December, according to global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That figure was also 42 percent higher from a year ago.
Retailers were the biggest job cutter, despite a nearly 8 percent bump in U.S. holiday sales in 2015. The sector slashed 22,246 positions, a seven-year high. Wal-Mart accounted for much of the payroll reductions. The nation’s largest retailer said it plans to close 269 stores and expects to let go 16,000 workers. FULL REPORT