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Economy in Brief

Mass Layoffs Bounce Up
by Tom Moeller July 23, 2004

Mass layoffs in the US as reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics bounced up 39.6% in June and recouped nearly all of the prior month's 32.2% decline.

The number of firms reporting mass layoffs in June rose to 1,379 from 988 in May.

These layoffs generated 134,588 initial claims for unemployment insurance. That was up from 87,501 initial claims generated in May.

Since the series inception in 1995 there has been a (negative) 47% correlation between the number of initial claims generated by mass layoffs and the one month change in non-farm payrolls.

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. Extended mass layoff numbers (issued quarterly) are from a subset of such establishments--where private sector non-farm employers indicate that 50 or more workers were separated from their jobs for at least 31 days.

Mass Layoffs June May Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Number of Events: All Industries 1,378 988 -18.5% 18,963 20,277 21,467
Numbers of Persons Filing Initial Unemployment Insurance Claim: All Industries 134,588 87,501 -14.6% 1,888,926 2,245,051 2,514,862
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