Mass Layoff Figures Continue Tumbling

September 25, 2002 ( - Mass layoffs continued to cool in August, dropping in number by 38.9% from July and by 47.8% in terms of workers involved.

August data from the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed 1,247 mass layoffs involving 128,080 workers. The BLS said August mass layoff initial claims are usually among the year’s lowest.

Layoff actions must involve at least 50 people from a single employer to qualify.

August’s numbers followed another cooling in July when there were 2,041 mass layoffs involving 245,457 workers.

From January through August 2002, both the total number of layoffs (13,090), and initial employee claims, (1,445,228), were lower than January-August 2001 (13,148 and 1,574,128, respectively).
Manufacturing Job Loss Down from 2001

Manufacturing industries accounted for 34% of all mass layoff events and 38% of all initial claims filed in August 2002.  A year earlier, layoffs in this sector accounted for 40% of events and 48% of initial claims. 

The number of initial claimants was highest in machinery manufacturing (9,197, mostly in air conditioning, refrigeration, and forced air heating equipment), followed by transportation equipment (6,665, largely in aircraft manufacturing) and computer and electronic products (6,202, primarily in semiconductors and related devices).
Some 14% of all layoff events and initial claims filed during the month were in administrative and waste services, mostly in temporary help services
Government establishments accounted for 5% of mass layoffs and initial claims filed during the month, mostly in executive, legislative, and general government agencies.
Compared with August 2001, the BLS said largest decreases in initial claims were reported in transportation equipment manufacturing (-9,491) and computer and electronic product manufacturing (-9,386).  The largest over-the-year increases in initial claims were reported in transit and ground passenger transportation (+1,893) and general merchandise stores (+1,399).