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Economy in Brief

Mass Layoffs Up
by Tom Moeller September 21, 2006

In August, the number of mass layoff events rose for the third consecutive month. The 6.0% m/m increase pulled the y/y comparison positive for the first time since December.

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 last month by mass layoffs surged 11.4% m/m but were up just 0.3% y/y. The number of persons affected by mass layoffs during the first eight months of this year fell 12.6% from the first eight months of 2005.

Increased layoffs in manufacturing (21.2% y/y) and information (-35.0% y/y) dominated the increase in claimants for unemployment insurance 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 August July Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
All US Industries (# Events, SA) 1,193 1,125 4.2% 15,699 15,926 19,220
Total (# Persons, SA) 127,944 114,895 0.3% 1,722,452 1,591,081 1,946,548
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