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Employers took 1,651 mass layoff actions in October that resulted in the separation of 148,059 workers, seasonally adjusted, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on November 23. Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single employer. The number of mass layoff events in October increased by 121 from the prior month, and the number of associated initial claims increased by 9,839. In October, 356 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 37,438 initial claims; both figures increased over the month.
The national unemployment rate was 9.6 percent in October, unchanged from the prior month and down from 10.1 percent a year earlier. In October, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 151,000 over the month and by 829,000 from a year earlier.
Industry Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
The number of mass layoff events in October was 1,642 on a not seasonally adjusted basis; the number of associated initial claims was 148,638. Over the year, the number of mass layoff events decreased by 292, and associated initial claims decreased by 45,266. Fourteen of the 19 major industry sectors in the private economy reported over-the-year decreases in initial claims, led by manufacturing. Manufacturing reached an October program low in terms of average weekly claims, while health care and social assistance reached an October program high. (Average weekly analysis mitigates the effect of differing lengths of months.)
The manufacturing sector accounted for 21 percent of all mass layoff events and 27 percent of initial claims filed in October. A year earlier, manufacturing made up 29 percent of events and 36 percent of initial claims. Within manufacturing, the number of claimants in October was greatest in food and transportation equipment. Fifteen of the 21 manufacturing subsectors experienced over-the-year decreases in initial claims, with the largest declines in transportation equipment and in machinery.
Government registered over-the-year increases in mass layoff events and initial claims. Year-to-date initial claim totals through October for government are the highest on record (with data available back to 1996), due in part to 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 October was temporary help services.
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 October. Among the census regions, the Midwest registered the largest over-the-year declines in initial claims. Of the geographic divisions, the East North Central had the largest over-the-year decline in initial claims.
California recorded the highest number of initial claims in October, followed by Pennsylvania and Florida. Thirty-two states experienced over-the-year decreases in initial claims, led by Michigan, Ohio, California and Illinois. Maine, North Dakota, South Dakota and West Virginia had no mass layoff activity during the month. Arizona and Wyoming reached October program highs for 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 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 three months in a quarter will be higher than the quarterly figure for mass layoffs of more than 30 days.