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Economy in Brief

Mass Layoffs Remained Low in March
by Tom Moeller April 21, 2006

The number of mass layoff events last month ticked up 0.8% after sharp declines during the prior two months. During all of 1Q, the number of events fell 9.9% from 4Q 2005.

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 in December by mass layoffs increased a larger 6.4% during March after a 2.9% February rise. Nevertheless, the 1Q level was down 9.7% from 4Q 2005. Layoffs in the transportation equipment sector (+10.4% y/y) have been significant and quite volatile m/m.

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.

Company mass layoffs: The "other" job shock from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is available here.

Mass Layoffs Mar Feb Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
All US Industries (# Events, SA) 1,082 1,073 -10.1% 15,699 15,926 19,220
Total (# Persons, SA) 118,555 111,468 -11.5% 1,722,452 1,591,081 1,946,548
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