April 4, 2007 -- Job cuts at U.S. businesses dropped by 41.7 percent in March to 48,997, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported Wednesday.

Last month's job cuts were also down 24.6 percent from the same period last year -- marking the 11 consecutive month of lower job cuts compared to a year earlier, the report said.

In March, the automotive sector led all others with 23,481 job cuts announced in March, the report said.

"Despite some signs that the economy may be cycling down, the job market appears to be strong," John Challenger, the firm's CEO, said in a statement.

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