Planned job cuts by U.S. employers rose slightly in June, as employers announced that workforce reductions totaled 39,372 during the month, up 8.2 percent from the 36,398 cuts announced in May, global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., said Wednesday.

While job cuts were up last month, the pace of downsizing through the first half of the year is down about nine percent from a year ago.

Led by increased job cuts in the computer and education sectors, June's planned job cut rate was 4.8 percent higher than the same month a year ago, when employers announced 37,551 planned job cuts. For the quarter ending June 30, announced layoffs totaled 113,891, down 21.5 percent from the first quarter of 2012 and 18.6 percent from the same three-month period in 2012.

The slowdown in job cuts last quarter was responsible for an overall decline in job cuts through the first half of 2013. Employers announced 258,932 job cuts through the six months of the year, 8.5 percent fewer than the 283,091 job cuts announced at the same point in 2012. The six-month total is the second lowest since 2000, when employers announced 223,421 cuts from January through June. The lowest six-month tally since 2000 was in 2011, when job cuts totaled 245,806.

“So far, most of the job cuts related to health care reform have come from health care providers adjusting to lower Medicare reimbursements and state Medicaid cutbacks," Challenger, Gray & Christmas CEO John Challenger said. "As 2014 approaches, we could see more cuts related to health care reform as smaller employers, who are mandated to provide coverage if they have 50 or more full-time workers, cut the number of workers and/or hours to remain under the 50-worker threshold.”

“Larger companies may cut workers to offset the higher costs associated with providing affordable and adequate health care to all employees or paying $2,000 per worker for not providing coverage."