Mass Layoff Victim Totals Drop in June

July 24, 2003 ( - The number of June mass layoffs was 1,691 covering 157,595 people, according to the latest mass layoffs report from the US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Compared to a year earlier, BLS said the number of layoffs increased, but the number of involved employees actually dropped – the 13 th  consecutive month of a decrease in the number of laid off workers.  The BLS counts mass layoffs as those involving at least 50 people from the same employer as measured by new unemployment filings during the month. The mass layoff figures dropped slightly in May (See  Mass Layoffs Down A Bit in May ).

Through the first half of 2003, the total number of layoffs, at 9,850, was higher than for the same period a year ago while the number of involved workers at 955,780, was lower. The number of layoffs was the highest for any January to June period since such data became available in 1996.  The number of initial claimants during January to June 2003 was lower than it had been in 2001 and 2002. 

According to the BLS, the manufacturing sector accounted for 23% of all mass layoffs and 26% of all involved employees in June, little changed from a year ago (21% and 26%, respectively).  Within manufacturing, the number of jobless claims was highest in transportation equipment (6,367, mainly automotive-related), followed by food production (5,829, mostly in fruit and vegetable processing). 
The administrative and waste-services sector accounted for 10% of layoffs and initial claims filed in June, with layoffs mostly in temporary help services.  Layoffs in temporary help services this June, at 8,936, were exceeded only in June 2000 (13,815). 

Transportation and warehousing accounted for 8% of layoffs and 10% of initial claims during the month, almost entirely in school and employee bus transportation. Some 7% of the events and initial claims were from the health care and social assistance sector, largely child daycare services. Five percent of all layoffs and 6% of initial claims filed in June 2003 were in accommodations and food services, primarily among food-service contractors.  An additional 6% of events and initial claims were from the retail trade sector, mostly from general merchandise stores.
Government establishments accounted for 17% of layoffs and 16% of initial claims filed during the month, particularly in educational services, as the school year ended.  The 25,376 initial claims in this sector were the most for any June since the series began in 1995.
Compared with June 2002, the largest decreases in initial claims were reported in professional and technical services (-5,545), transit and ground passenger transportation (-3,647), and electrical equipment and appliance manufacturing (-3,193).  The largest over-the-year increase in initial claims was reported in educational services (+5,370).
Among the four regions, the highest number of initial claims in June due to mass layoffs was reported in the West, 53,725.  Educational services and administrative and support services accounted for 36 % of all initial claims in that region during the month. The South followed, with 41,019 initial claims, then the Midwest, with 33,819, and the Northeast, with 29,032.