Mass Layoff Numbers Lower In Third Quarter

November 13, 2002 ( - There were 1,309 mass layoffs covering 284,154 workers during the third quarter - continuing a downward trend compared to a year ago.

Not surprisingly in the aftermath of September 11, the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said the decline from the third quarter of 2001 was most notable in air transportation and in hotels and motels.   The number of workers laid-off during 2002 now stands at 1,050,546, down from 1,209,243 during the same period of 2001.

Internal company restructuring accounted for 29% of extended layoffs (89,071 workers), with the completion of season work representing 23% (84,499 workers), and permanent closure of worksites occurring in 21% of extended layoffs, covering 74,000 workers but down from the 77,725 of workers laid off in July-September 2001.

Also slightly higher than a year ago, 38% of laid off workers said they were expecting some type of recall, up from 36% last year.

Manufacturing was the leading sector again, accounting for 38% of private-sector layoffs and 37% of all separations during July-September 2002.   This is an improvement over last year’s numbers, with manufacturing accounting for 41% of layoffs and 35% of separations.

Layoffs in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting made up 11% of layoffs and 15% of separations.

Extended mass layoffs in administrative and waste services were 9% of layoffs and 10% of separations, mostly in temporary help services.   Cutbacks in transportation and warehousing accounted for an additional 6% of layoffs and 9% of separations.

Government establishments recorded 5% of layoffs and separations, primarily in educational services.   Additionally, retail trade accounted for 4% of private sector layoffs and 6% of all separations, with a concentration in general merchandise stores.

Overall numbers for the third quarter of 2002 were better than those of the  second quarter of 2002 which saw a revised total of 1,905 mass layoffs covering 423,783 workers.