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Economy in Brief

U.S. Mass Layoffs Continue Lower
by Tom Moeller  July 20, 2012

Mass layoffs in the U.S. during June continued lower. The Labor Department reported this morning that layoffs of 50 or more persons from a single firm slipped by a seasonally adjusted 4.6% (-13.0% y/y) to 1,317 following a 0.6% May dip. So far this year, the number of mass layoff events has declined 4.8%. 

Not seasonally adjusted, mass layoffs rose 689 (13.8% y/y) during June. Year-to-year, the largest gains in mass layoffs were in the retail trade (61.0%  y/y), machinery (56.3% y/y), health care & social insurance (13.6% y/y) and transportation equipment (14.7% y/y) industries. Offsetting these gains was a two-thirds y/y decline in Federal government layoffs.

The total number of initial unemployment insurance claims accompanying these layoffs in June was 131,406 (-8.4% y/y) versus 143,384 in June of last year.

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 Jun May Apr 2011 2010 2009
Total (SA) 1,317 1,380 1,388 17,517 19,294 28,286
Total (Y/Y) -13.0 -13.7% -10.3% -9.2% -31.8% 30.3%
 Private Nonfarm 1,539 1,099 1,378 17,046 17,887 26,437
  Construction 91 129 138 1,994 2,262 2,833
  Manufacturing 267 264 287 4,052 4,254 10,083
  Retail Trade 132 117 105 1,448 1,574 1,965
  Information 48 39 35 522 548 752
  Finance & Insurance 24 31 33 313 430 677
  Health Care & Social Assistance 201 95 41 738 709 675
  Arts, Entertainment and Recreation 40 26 40 338 363 389
 Government 351 102 43 1,475 1,677 1,593
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