Mass Layoffs Dip in January

February 28, 2002 ( - There were 2,146 mass layoffs in January 2002 involving 263,821 workers, down slightly from the 2,440 mass layoffs in December, the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported.

The number of initial jobless claims for unemployment insurance, on which the BLS report is based, was the highest for the month of January since the series began in April 1995, the BLS said.

BLS researchers warned that year-over-year comparisons would be difficult starting with the latest data because of a recent change in the series’ classification system.

By Industry

The largest increases in initial claims, from January 2001 numbers, were in:

  • professional and technical services, which rose 11,180,
  • computer and electronic products manufacturing, which rose 9,831,
  • apparel manufacturing, which was up 7,485,
  • administrative and support services, which rose 6,852, and
  • textile mills, up 6,644

The largest annual decrease in initial claims was in transportation equipment manufacturing, which declined -14,638.

Also, according to the BLS:

manufacturing industries were responsible for 42% of the mass layoffs and 49% of January’s initial unemployment claims – flat from a year earlier in terms of mass layoffs and down slightly from January 2001’s 53% of first-time claims,

administrative and waste-services accounted for 11% of layoffs and 10% of initial claims filed during the month, with layoffs concentrated in administrative and support services, particularly temporary help services.

Geographically, the West had the highest number of mass layoffs-related jobless claims at 83,103. The South had 79,608 and the Midwest 71,176.

The Northeast region had the lowest number of mass layoffs claims at 29,934.

September 11 Related Layoffs

The September terrorist attacks sparked 125,637 layoffs in the 18 weeks between September 15 and January 12, the BLS said. The statistics showed that 61% of the terrorist-related layoffs took place in California, Nevada, Illinois, New York, Texas, and Washington.

The September 11 layoffs included:

  • 36% or 44,861 in the commercial airline industry, and
  • 26% or 32,803 in hotels or motels