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Economy in Brief

Mass Layoffs Up Again
by Tom Moeller August 23, 2006

The number of mass layoff events in July increased 2.6% after a 2.1% gain during June. Despite the increases, layoff events during the first seven months of 2006 remained down 11.4% from the year earlier period.

During the last ten years there has been a (negative) 85% correlation between the three month average level of layoff announcements and the y/y change in payroll employment.

The number of persons affected in July by mass layoffs fell 4.0% m/m and were 14.4% lower during the first seven months of 2006 versus last year.

Increased layoffs in manufacturing (-3.6% y/y) and in real estate (-17.4% y/y) dominated the increase in claimants for unemployment last month. Declines elsewhere were widespread.

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.

Mass Layoffs July June Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
All US Industries (# Events, SA) 1,125 1,097 -9.9% 15,699 15,926 19,220
Total (# Persons, SA) 114,895 119,662 -12.4% 1,722,452 1,591,081 1,946,548
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