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Economy in Brief

Mass Layoffs Plunge Again
by Tom Moeller October 21, 2004

Mass layoffs in the US as reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics fell another 12.5% following the 61.4% in August to the lowest level since August 1999.

These layoffs generated 68,972 (-16.5% y/y) initial claims for unemployment insurance.

Since the series inception in 1995 there has been a (negative) 45% correlation between the number of initial claims generated by mass layoffs and the one month change in non-farm payrolls.

The Mass Layoff Statistics (MLS) program collects reports on mass layoff actions that result in workers being separated from their jobs. Monthly mass layoff numbers are from establishments which have at least 50 initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) filed against them during a 5-week period. Extended mass layoff numbers (issued quarterly) are from a subset of such establishments--where private sector non-farm employers indicate that 50 or more workers were separated from their jobs for at least 31 days.

Mass Layoffs Sept Aug Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Number of Events: All Industries 708 809 -18.4% 18,963 20,277 21,467
Numbers of Persons Filing Initial Unemployment Insurance Claim: All Industries 68,972 69,033 -16.5% 1,888,926 2,245,051 2,514,862
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