According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 809 mass layoffs (down 61.3% from July’s 2,094) involving 69,037 workers (down 73% from July’s 253,829). From January through August 2004, the total number of events, at 11,017, and of initial claims, at 1,118,574, were lower than in January-August 2003 (13,205 and 1,316,863, respectively). Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single establishment.
The 10 industries reporting the highest number of mass-layoff initial claims accounted for 23,342 initial claims in August, 34% of the total. Temporary help services, with 4,978 initial claims, and school and employee bus transportation, with 4,718 initial claims, together accounted for 14% of all initial claims in August.
Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector had 24% of all mass layoffs and 26% of all initial claims filed in August – the smallest shares for any August since 1995, when the monthly series began. A year ago, manufacturing reported 32% of layoffs and 39% of initial claims. Within manufacturing, the number of involved workers was highest in transportation equipment (2,846, mainly automotive-related), followed by food processing (2,797) and fabricated metal products (2,031).
The administrative and waste services sector accounted for 15% of layoffs and initial claims filed in August, with layoffs mainly in temporary help services. Temporary help services, at 4,978 initial claims, accounted for more than 7% of all mass layoff initial claims in August. Twelve percent of all layoff events and 13% of initial claims filed during the month were in retail trade, primarily in general merchandise stores.
Construction accounted for 9% of layoffs and 8% of initial claims during the month, mainly among specialty trade contractors. Transportation and warehousing accounted for 6% of events and 7% of initial claims, mostly in school and employee bus transportation. An additional 5% of events and 7% of initial claims were from the information sector, largely in motion picture and sound recording.
Government establishments accounted for 5% of events and initial claims filed during the month, mostly in elementary and secondary schools.