Remember the quaint custom of high-tech job fairs? The days of high-tech worker shortages and unprecedented perks may be long over, particularly in the slash-happy telecom industry, a study says.

Telecom cut 317,777 jobs in 2001, topping a Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. list of who cut how many whoms. The industry axed 88 percent more jobs than the computer industry, which took second place with 168,395 layoffs.

Telecom cut nine times more jobs than the 34,903 reported in 2000, and its 2001 layoffs produced the highest year-end total announced by one industry since the firm started tracking job cuts daily in 1993, it says.

A spokesman said the firm could not answer questions by CEDaily's deadline.

According to the results, however, telecom cut 25,021 jobs in December alone, well ahead of the financial industry's 16,305 for the month.

The survey says overall, 40 percent of the year's total layoffs were after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, primarily in New York (26,880), Connecticut (24,424), Illinois (22,424) and Texas (13,654), and mostly in travel and hospitality. The better news: Monthly layoffs since the attacks have declined steadily.

"While the travel and hospitality industries may have felt the biggest and most immediate impact of the terrorist attacks, aftershocks have rippled through most areas of the economy," says Challenger, Gray & Christmas CEO John A. Challenger, in a statement.

The year's total of nearly 2 million workers laid off is the highest since the firm started tracking in 1993.