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DOL Reports Increase in Mass Layoffs During July 2011 
 

8/25/2011  By SHRM Online staff 
 
 

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Aug. 23, 2011, that employers took 1,579 mass layoff actions in July 2011 involving 145,000 workers (seasonally adjusted), as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for the month. Each mass layoff involved at least 50 workers from a single employer.

The number of mass layoff events in July 2011 increased by 47, or 3 percent, from June 2011, and the number of associated UI initial claims increased by 1,556, or 1 percent, from June 2011.

When not seasonally adjusted, the number of mass layoff events in July 2011 was 2,176—resulting in 216,774 initial claims for unemployment insurance for that month. The number of mass layoff events for July 2011 increased by 52, or 2 percent, from July 2010, and associated initial claims increased by 10,520, or 5 percent, compared with July 2010.

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 industry with the largest number of initial claims for UI benefits in July 2011 was temporary help services.

The manufacturing sector accounted for 28 percent of mass layoff events and 33 percent of initial UI benefit claims filed in July 2011. The sector made up 25 percent of events and 31 percent of initial UI claims in July 2010. 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.

Government layoffs reached a July series high in terms of average weekly initial claims, largely attributable to a partial state government shutdown in Minnesota.

Geographic Distribution

Three of the four regions and six of the nine divisions experienced over-the-year increases in initial claims for unemployment insurance attributable to mass layoffs in July 2011. Among the census regions, the South registered the largest over-the-year increase in initial UI claims. Of the geographic divisions, the West North Central division had the largest over-the-year increase in initial UI claims. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia also experienced over-the-year increases in initial claims in July 2011.

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