Mass Layoffs Cool Off In July

August 22, 2002 ( - Employers initiated 2,041 mass layoffs in July 2002 involving 245,457 workers, according to the US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with both readings down from a year earlier.

The July figures follow a 26% drop in mass layoffs in June.

According to the BLS, manufacturing industries accounted for 44% of July 2002 mass layoffs and 55% of all initial claims filed in July.  A year earlier, layoffs in this sector accounted for 54% of layoffs and 62% of initial claims.

The number of initial claimants was highest in transportation equipment (47,583, mostly in light truck and utility vehicles), followed by:

  • machinery manufacturing (12,778, largely in construction machinery)
  • computer and electronic products (11,987, primarily in semiconductors and related devices)
  • plastics and rubber products (10,080, mainly in miscellaneous plastic products).

Some 11% of all layoffs and 10% of initial claims filed during July were in administrative and waste services, mostly in temporary help services, according to the BLS.

Government establishments accounted for 5% of layoffs and 4% of initial claims filed during the month.
Less Mass in Manufacturing

Compared with July 2001, the largest decreases in July 2002 initial claims were reported in manufacturing industries. The largest over-the-year increases in initial claims were reported in educational services, food services and drinking places, and general merchandise stores.

Among the four regions, the highest number of initial claims in July 2002 due to mass layoffs was in the Midwest at 89,068. The West followed with 64,961 initial claims, then the South with 56,416, and the Northeast with 35,012, the BLS figures show.
The number of initial claimants in mass layoffs declined over the year in two of the four geographic regions, with the largest decrease occurring in the Midwest.  The largest over-the-year increase was reported in the Northeast.
California had the largest number of initial claims filed in July 2002 mass layoffs with 52,556.  Michigan reported the largest over-the-year decrease in initial claims.