Job cuts announced by U.S. companies rocketed to 176,010 in October, according to an analysis of unemployment numbers by the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

That works out to more than 7,600 job cuts per weekday and bounces off a 22-month low of 70,057 in September.

Certain areas continue to struggle…namely the battered technology sector, which accounted for 34 percent of October job cuts, Challenger says.

Telecommunications and computers were the top two job-cutting industries during the month, combining for 51,644 cuts. Another 7,942 cuts were announced by electronics and e-commerce companies, for a technology sector total of 59,586.

In Research Triangle Park, some of the larger companies to announce layoffs recently include IBM and Nortel Networks, which both employ thousands in the park.

The October figure is the second highest of the year, behind only January’s 212,704, Challenger says. The company tracks daily job-cut announcements.

But October’s figure is 27 percent lower than that of October 2001, which was 242,192. And job-cut announcements in 2002 are down 27 percent from last year. Through October, 1.18 million job cuts have been announced, compared with 1.61 million last year.

Challenger: www.challengergray.com