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Economy in Brief

Mass Layoffs Down
by Tom Moeller November 28, 2005

Mass layoffs fell in half last month from a September count that was bloated by establishment closures due to Hurricanes Katrina & Rita. Year to year, the number of mass layoffs also fell by 14.6%, continuing the downtrend in place since 2001.

During the last ten years there has been a (negative) 87% correlation between the three month average level of layoff announcements and the y/y change in payroll employment.

The number of persons affected by mass layoffs in October fell nearly two-thirds m/m.

By industry, factory sector layoff announcements in October more than reversed the prior month's increase. The number of layoff events as a result fell below the year earlier level but the number of persons affected nevertheless rose 1.5% y/y with increases concentrated in the transportation, computer and paper industries.

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.

How Predictable is Fed Policy? from St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President William Poole can be found here.

Mass Layoffs Oct Sept Y/Y 2004 2003 2002
All US Industries (# Events, SA) 1,088 2,220 -14.6% 15,900 19,155 20,472
Total (# Persons, SA) 106,238 287,692 -15.3% 1,588,483 1,936,463 2.256,014
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