Employers took 1,546 mass layoff actions in August that resulted in the separation of 150,192 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 September 23. Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single employer. The number of mass layoff events in August decreased by 63 from the prior month, while the number of associated initial claims increased by 6,489. In August, 403 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 46,540 initial claims.
The national unemployment rate was 9.6 percent in August, seasonally adjusted, essentially unchanged from the prior month and from a year earlier. In August, total non-farm payroll employment decreased by 54,000 over the month but increased by 229,000 from a year earlier.
Industry Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
The number of mass layoff events in August was 976 on a not seasonally adjusted basis; the number of associated initial claims was 92,435. Over the year, the number of mass layoff events decreased by 452, and associated initial claims decreased by 32,589. Thirteen of the 19 major industry sectors in the private economy reported over-the-year decreases in initial claims, led by manufacturing. Retail trade and management of companies reached August program highs in terms of average weekly claims. (Average weekly analysis mitigates the effect of differing lengths of months. Data began in 1995.)
The manufacturing sector accounted for 24 percent of all mass layoff events and 25 percent of initial claims filed in August. A year earlier, manufacturing made up 31 percent of events and 33 percent of initial claims. Within manufacturing, the number of claimants in August was greatest in transportation equipment and food. Sixteen of the 21 manufacturing subsectors experienced over-the-year decreases in initial claims, led by machinery and transportation equipment.
The six-digit industry with the largest number of initial claims in August was temporary help services. Of the 10 detailed industries in Table A of the report, elementary and secondary schools and home centers each reached a program high number of claims for the month of August. The table includes both publicly and privately owned entities.
Geographic Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)
Three of the four regions and seven of the nine divisions experienced over-the-year decreases in initial claims due to mass layoffs in August. 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 Middle Atlantic had the largest over-the-year declines in initial claims.
California recorded the highest number of initial claims in August, followed by Florida and New York. Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia experienced over-the-year decreases in initial claims, led by New York and Pennsylvania.
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.