Employers took 1,856 mass layoff actions in April that resulted in the separation of 200,870 workers, seasonally adjusted, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on May 21. Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single employer. The number of mass layoff events in April increased by 228 from the prior month, and the number of associated initial claims increased by 50,006. In April, 448 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 63,616 initial claims.

During the 29 months from December 2007 through April 2010, the total number of mass layoff events (seasonally adjusted) was 58,793, and the associated number of initial claims was 5,932,553. (December 2007 was the start of a recession as designated by the National Bureau of Economic Research.)

The national unemployment rate was 9.9 percent in April 2010, seasonally adjusted, up from 9.7 percent the prior month and from 8.9 percent a year earlier. In April, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 290,000 over the month but was down by 1,381,000 from a year earlier.

Industry Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
The number of mass layoff events in April was 1,840 on a not seasonally adjusted basis; the number of associated initial claims was 199,690. Over the year, the number of average weekly mass layoff events decreased by 269, and associated average weekly initial claims decreased by 24,295. Sixteen of the 19 major industry sectors in the private economy reported over-the-year decreases in average weekly initial claims, led by manufacturing. (Average weekly analysis mitigates the effect of differing numbers of weeks in a month.) However, the health care and social assistance industry and the real estate and rental and leasing industry reported program highs in terms of average weekly initial claims for the month of April.

The manufacturing sector accounted for 23 percent of all mass layoff events and 28 percent of initial claims filed in April 2010. A year earlier, manufacturing made up 35 percent of events and 39 percent of initial claims. Within manufacturing, the number of claimants in April 2010 was greatest in transportation equipment and food. All 21 manufacturing subsectors experienced over-the-year decreases in average weekly initial claims, with the largest decrease in machinery manufacturing.

Geographic Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
All four regions and all nine divisions experienced over-the-year decreases in average weekly initial claims due to mass layoffs in April. Among the four census regions, the Midwest and South registered the largest over-the-year declines in average weekly initial claims. Of the nine geographic divisions, the East North Central and the South Atlantic had the largest over-the-year declines.

California recorded the highest number of initial claims in April, followed by New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New Jersey. Forty-one states and the District of Columbia experienced over-the-year decreases in average weekly initial claims, led by Illinois, New York, California and Ohio. However, six states reached April program highs for average weekly initial claims in 2010: Alaska, Colorado, Nebraska, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wyoming.