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Employers took 1,486 mass layoff actions in September that resulted in the separation of 133,379 workers, seasonally adjusted, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on October 22. Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single employer. The number of mass layoff events in September decreased by 60 from the prior month, the third consecutive over-the-month decrease. The number of associated initial claims decreased by 16,813 to its lowest level since April 2008. In September, 345 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 34,168 initial claims. Both figures declined over the month.
The national unemployment rate was 9.6 percent in September, seasonally adjusted, unchanged from the prior month and down from 9.8 percent a year earlier. In September, total nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 95,000 over the month but increased by 344,000 from a year earlier.
Industry Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
The number of mass layoff events in September was 920 on a not seasonally adjusted basis; the number of associated initial claims was 77,654. Over the year, the number of mass layoff events decreased by 451, and associated initial claims decreased by 45,523. Thirteen of the 19 major industry sectors in the private economy reported over-the-year decreases in initial claims, led by manufacturing. Agriculture reached a September program low in terms of average weekly claims. (Average weekly analysis mitigates the effect of differing lengths of months.)
The manufacturing sector accounted for 20 percent of all mass layoff events and 25 percent of initial claims filed in September. A year earlier, manufacturing made up 33 percent of events and 42 percent of initial claims. Within manufacturing, the number of claimants in September was greatest in transportation equipment and food. Twenty of the 21 manufacturing subsectors experienced over-the-year decreases in initial claims, led by machinery.
Government registered an over-the-year increase in mass layoff initial claims. Year-to-date initial claim totals through September for government are the highest on record (with data available back to 1996), reflecting layoffs in educational services and the completion of work on the decennial census.
The six-digit industry with the largest number of initial claims in September was temporary help services. Of the 10 detailed industries in Table A of the news release, transportation program administration reached a program high number of claims for the month of September. The table includes both publicly and privately owned entities.
Geographic Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
All four regions and eight of the nine divisions experienced over-the-year decreases in initial claims due to mass layoffs in September. Among the census regions, the Midwest registered the largest over-the-year declines in initial claims. Of the geographic divisions, the East North Central and the Pacific had the largest over-the-year declines in initial claims.
California recorded the highest number of initial claims in September, followed by Florida, Pennsylvania, New York and Illinois. Thirty-one states experienced over-the-year decreases in initial claims, led by California, Illinois and Michigan. The District of Columbia, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming matched September program lows for average weekly initial claims, while Idaho, Montana and North Carolina reached program highs for the month in terms of average weekly initial claims.
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 non-farm 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 three months in a quarter will be higher than the quarterly figure for mass layoffs of more than 30 days.