Planned U.S. layoffs in November were the highest since July as the automotive sector led all industries in job cuts, a report said on Wednesday.

November job cuts surged to 99,279, up 22 percent from 81,301 in October, said Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. , an employment consulting firm. However November's planned cuts are 5 percent less than the 104,530 announced in November 2004.

Job cuts announced in July totaled 102,971.

"Downsizing in the auto industry is expected to continue well into the new year, as companies try to bring production capacity in line with the reality of the market," John A. Challenger, the company's chief executive, said in a release.

The automotive industry led November with 16,870 planned layoffs. Autos led all industries for the year with 105,886 job cuts, nearly 11 percent of all cuts announced this year.

"This, of course, will affect everyone down the line in the supply chain. In fact, nearly half of the auto industry job cuts in November occurred at the supplier level," Challenger said.

So far this year, U.S. employers have announced 964,232 job cuts, 3.6 percent more than the 930,690 cuts announced through November 2004. Also, U.S. firms announced plans to hire 96,282 in November, bringing hiring for the year to 257,804.