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Economy in Brief

Mass Layoffs Up
by Tom Moeller September 7, 2004

Mass layoffs in the US as reported to the Bureau of Labor Statistics jumped 52% in July from an elevated June level which rose 40% from May. The increases reversed all of improvement which had occurred through May.

These mass layoffs generated 253,929 initial claims for unemployment insurance, up 12.1% y/y.

Since the series inception in 1995 there has been a (negative) 46% 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 July June Y/Y 2003 2002 2001
Number of Events: All Industries 2,094 1,379 0.3% 18,963 20,277 21,467
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