4Q01 Mass Layoffs Spike

February 13, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The final three months of 2001 saw the number of mass layoffs spike higher than in any previous year's fourth quarter, according to preliminary data from the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Over the period, some 486,406 workers were given their walking papers in 2,538 mass-layoff actions. This is the fifth consecutive quarter of significant year over year increases in extended mass layoff activity, the BLS reports.

According to the BLS, in 38% of the layoff events, employers cut staff due to the seasonal factors. However, the number of firms cutting jobs for this reason was lower than in 2000.

It was layoff events at firms citing financial difficulty, reorganization, bankruptcy or slack work that increased over the previous year.

Not all news was bad – half the companies that axed jobs in the last months of 2001 anticipate some type of recall.

On an annual basis, the number of workers separated from their jobs in extended layoff events, or for longer than 30 days, totaled 1,695,335 for 2001, while the number of layoff events reached 8,191 – higher than in any year since the series began.