March's total (1,549) grew about 130% over February's tally (670). A year ago, it was grimmer. March 2001 saw about six times as many cuts (9,533) as last month. Of course, there are scores fewer dot-coms now, too, says John Challenger, president of the outplacement firm. For a completely different picture, set your time machine for 2000. Only 25 cuts were listed for Challenger's March report that year.
Interestingly, dot-com jobs in the financial sector led the cuts in February and March. More traditional industries, such as finance, were able to hold their dot-com operations together through the initial bloodbath, Challenger says. The units represented only a fraction of their operations and could more easily be supported than standalone dot-coms--but not forever. "Now we're seeing more financial and consumer-services companies cutting back," he says. "Although consumer confidence seems to be up, these companies have not been able to capitalize on that."