(Bloomberg) -- US companies have announced more job cuts this year than during all of 2022, according to executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Planned layoffs reached about 417,500 jobs through May, more than four times the job cuts during the same period last year, Challenger said in a report.

Excluding the start of 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the US, the tally for the first five months of 2023 was the highest since 2009.

Job cuts that began in white-collar sectors including technology and banking have started to spread to other industries, including the retail and media sectors.

Tech remains the industry with the most layoffs, Challenger found. Companies have announced about 136,800 cuts in the year through May. That’s more than any full year since 2001, when the total eventually reached almost 168,400 in December. 

In the media industry, the total through May, at about 17,400, was the highest on record for that period. 

Banking also saw a surge in layoffs this year. Financial firms have announced almost 37,000 cuts through May, more than four times the figure in the same period last year.

Companies cited economic conditions and cost cutting for more than half of the layoffs announced this year. Artificial intelligence was given as the reason for 3,900 jobs in May. 

Data published this week showed that consumer confidence fell to a six-month low this month and the views about the current state of the labor market deteriorated. 

US firms are putting the brakes on hiring in anticipation of a slowdown, Challenger said in its report. Plans to hire in May were at the lowest since November 2020. 

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