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Byline: LISA SCHMEISER
Big-company layoffs grab headlines. Recently, Hewlett-Packard's plan to eliminate 14,500 jobs and Kodak's announcement that it would cut 10,000 jobs got much attention.
When such news hits, it's easy to conclude that job cuts are happening all over. And that's especially so when Challenger, Gray & Christmas reports two consecutive months of more than 100,000 job cuts: 110,996 cuts in June and another 102,971 in July.
Workplace watchers might worry, since July marked the third consecutive month, and fifth this year, when job cuts surpassed year-earlier totals. Through July, Challenger says 641,245 job cuts have been announced, an 18% gain over 2004.
Yet, the nation's total unemployment rate is 5%, its lowest level since September 2001. The Labor Department on Friday said 166,000 jobs were created in June with another 207,000 in July. Thus far, 1.33 million …