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Economy in Brief

Mass Layoffs Creep Higher
by Tom Moeller July 23, 2007

The number of mass layoff events rose 8.0% during June. The increase reversed al of the prior month’s 6.2% decline, according to BLS data.These specific layoff incidents are called "mass layoffs" because they involve 50 or more initial claims for unemployment insurance.

The June increase only left the number of mass layoff events in the middle of the data’s very recent range, however, there is an upward creep to the number since early last year. Since January ’06 mass layoffs are up 16.9% and since last year’s average June layoffs were up 5.8%.

The increase brought with a 5.0% increase in initial claims for unemployment insurance versus last year’s average.

Most of the creep is due to layoffs in the construction industry which still are running double the monthly low in 2006. That’s after the huge seasonal spikes early this year and last that never seemed to fully unwind in the spring. [Note that all of the data for individual industries are not seasonally adjusted.]

These mass layoff data are contained in Haver's flagship database, USECON. Data are also available by Census regions, divisions and states, including some industry detail for each. These are all carried in the REGIONAL database.

The Minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee Meeting held June 27-28, 2006 can be found here.

Monthly Averages
Mass Layoffs, SA June May June ‘06
2006 2005 2004
Number of Events 1,219 1,182 1,130 1,152 1,305 1,323
Initial Claims
  (Number Persons)
127,897 118,414 123,558 121,839 143,402 131,943
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