1Q02 Mass Layoffs Down from 2001

May 16, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The number of mass layoff actions and worker separations in the first quarter of 2002 was lower than the same period a year earlier, according to data from the US Department of Labor's (DoL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The January to March 2002 figures of 1,669 mass layoff actions, resulting in 301,181 worker separations from their jobs for more than 30 days, reversed the trend of the previous five quarters, the BLS said.

Driving first quarter layoff trends was the weak market and lack of consumer demand, which resulted in 25% of layoff events and 58, 931 separations, and seasonal events, which resulted in 21% of events.

Companies permanently closed worksites in 20% of layoff events affecting 82,603 workers. That’s up from a year earlier and the highest first-quarter level on record, according to the BLS.
About a third of the employers trimming payrolls in the first quarter reported they would likely have a recall. The BLS said that was the lowest first-quarter proportion on record.

Manufacturers led the way in extended layoffs with 39% of private-sector layoff events and 38% of separations during the quarter. Hit hardest in manufacturing were computer and electronic products, resulting in 26,597 separations, followed by transportation equipment, which left 15,757 workers jobless.

Retail trade accounted for 9% of private-sector layoff events and 15% of all separations, which were concentrated in general merchandise stores.