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Economy in Brief

Mass Layoffs Up
by Tom Moeller December 21, 2006

The number of mass layoff events rose 3.2% in November for the fifth increase in the last six months. That was enough to lift the number of layoff events to the highest level of 2006.

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 20.0% m/m, also to the highest level of the year. Nevertheless, the number of persons affected by mass layoffs during the first eleven months of this year fell 17.6% from the first eleven months of 2005.

Increased layoffs in construction (10.4% y/y) and manufacturing (15.6% y/y) accounted for much of the recent increase while the number of layoff events in retail (-11.5% y/y) and information (-4.8% y/y) fell.

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 November October Y/Y 2005 2004 2003
All US Industries (# Events, SA) 1,208 1,171 0.2% 15,699 15,926 19,220
Total (# Persons, SA) 135,415 113,724 12.9% 1,722,452 1,591,081 1,946,548
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