July Has 1,579 Mass Layoffs Involving 145,000 Workers, About the Same as June

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—August 23, 2011.  Employers took 1,579 mass layoff actions in July involving 145,000 workers, seasonally adjusted, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Each mass layoff involved at least 50 workers from a single employer. The number of mass layoff events in July increased by 47, or 3 percent, from June, and the number of associated initial claims increased by 1,556, or 1 percent. In July, 342 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 35,460 initial claims. (See table 1.)

The national unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in July, essentially unchanged from the prior month but down from 9.5 percent a year earlier. In July, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 117,000 over the month and by 1,258,000 over the year.

Industry Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

The number of mass layoff events in July was 2,176, not seasonally adjusted, resulting in 216,774 initial claims for unemployment insurance. The number of mass layoff events increased by 52, or 2 percent, from July 2010, and associated initial claims increased by 10,520, or 5 percent. (See table 2.) Eight of the 19 major industry sectors in the private economy reported over-the-year increases in initial claims, with the largest increases occurring in manufacturing and administrative and waste services. The six-digit industry with the largest number of initial claims in July 2011 was temporary help services. (See table A. The table includes both publicly and privately owned entities.)

The manufacturing sector accounted for 28 percent of all mass layoff events and 33 percent of initial claims filed in July. A year earlier, manufacturing made up 25 percent of events and 31 percent of initial claims. Within this sector, the number of claimants in July 2011 was greatest in the transportation equipment subsector.

Fourteen of the 21 manufacturing subsectors experienced over-the-year increases in initial claims, with the largest increase occurring in textile mills. (See table 3.)

Government layoffs reached a July series high in terms of average weekly initial claims, largely due to a partial state government shutdown in Minnesota. (Average weekly analysis mitigates the effect of differing lengths of months. See the Technical Note.)

Geographic Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

Three of the 4 regions and 6 of the 9 divisions experienced over-the-year increases in initial claims for unemployment insurance due to mass layoffs in July. Among the census regions, the South registered the largest over-the-year increase in initial claims. Of the geographic divisions, the West North Central had the largest over-the-year increase in initial claims. (See table 5.)

California recorded the highest number of mass layoff initial claims in July, followed by New York, Michigan, and Florida. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia experienced over-the-year increases in initial claims, led by Minnesota.  Minnesota recorded a July series high level of mass layoff initial claims during 2011, mostly due to a partial shutdown of the state government. (See table 6.)


The monthly data series in this release cover mass layoffs of 50 or more workers beginning in a given month, regardless of the duration of the layoffs. For private nonfarm establishments, information on the length of the layoff is obtained later and issued in a quarterly release that reports on mass layoffs lasting more than 30 days (referred to as “extended mass layoffs”). The quarterly release provides more information on the industry classification and location of the establishment and on the demographics of the laid-off workers. Because monthly figures include short-term layoffs of 30 days or less, the sum of the figures for the 3 months in a quarter will be higher than the quarterly figure for mass layoffs of more than 30 days. (See table 4.)

See the Technical Note for more detailed definitions.

To view the Technical Note and tables referenced above, see: www.bls.gov/news.release/mmls.nr0.htm

Sourc: bls.org