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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mass Layoffs Pick Up Somewhat
by Tom Moeller June 22, 2011

In a reversal of the recent trend, mass layoffs in the U.S. rose during May and April. The Labor Department reported this morning that layoffs last month of 50 or more persons from a single firm rose 2.2% in May from April after that month's 21.6% increase. The seasonally adjusted level of 1,599 was the highest since last October.

The monthly upturn was in manufacturing, led by textiles, finance, health care and government. Elsewhere declines in layoffs continued including retail trade, information, arts & entertainment. A mass layoff involves at least 50 initial claimants from a single establishment filing during a consecutive 5-week period. The BLS data are available in Haver's USECON database. Underlying state and area detail are available in the REGIONAL database.

Mass Layoffs May Apr Mar 2010 2009 2008
Total (SA) 1,599 1,564 1,286 19,350 28,236 21,689
Total (Y/Y) -4.0% -6.6% -21.3 -31.5% 30.2% 42.1%
 Private Nonfarm 0.0 -6.5 -21.4 -34.6 29.8 43.5
  Construction -13.8 -1.2 -15.4 -20.2 18.4 22.6
  Manufacturing 25.0 -6.4 -30.0 -53.0 40.1 48.0
  Retail Trade -10.7 -5.8 -28.2 -19.9 34.9 39.0
  Information -12.2 -16.0 -30.8 -27.1 38.0 42.3
  Finance & Insurance 4.3 -34.4 -55.8 -36.5 22.6 8.2
  Health Care & Social Assistance 21.4 -20.7 0.0 5.0 16.4 28.9
  Arts, Entertainment and Recreation -25.0 -21.1 -35.0 -6.7 25.1 29.6
 Government -21.0 -17.7 -29.2 5.3 58.2 29.3
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