Mass Layoffs Ease in September

October 21, 2004 ( - The pace of US mass layoffs eased a bit in September, both in terms of the number of layoffs and the workers affected by the moves, the government announced.

According to the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 708 mass layoffs, down 12.4% from 809 the month before, while there were 68,972 employees involved in the layoffs in September, down .47% from 69.033 in August. Over the quarter, there were 3,611 mass layoffs, down 5.5% from the 3,825 during the second quarter while there were 391,934 people involved in September, up 3.1% from the 379,403 people involved the month before.

From January through September 2004, the total number of layoffs (11,725) and number of workers involved (1,187,546) was lower than in January-September 2003 (14,073 and 1,399,510, respectively).


The 10 industries reporting the highest number of mass-layoff initial claims accounted for 27,382 initial claims in September, 40% of the total.   Temporary help services, with 6,789 initial claims, accounted for 10% of all initial claims in September.


The manufacturing sector had 27% of all mass layoff events and 37% of all initial claims filed in September.   A year ago, manufacturing reported 31% of events and 38% of initial claims. The number of manufacturing layoffs this month was the lowest for any September since 1997, and the number of initial claims was the lowest for any September since 1998.   Within manufacturing, the number of claimants was highest in transportation equipment (7,400, mainly automotive-related), followed by food processing (4,848) and electrical equipment and appliances (3,211).


The administrative and waste services sector accounted for 15% of both layoffs and workers filed in September, with layoffs mainly in temporary help services.   Ten percent of all layoff events and 9% of initial claims filed during the month were in retail trade, primarily in general merchandise stores.   Accommodation and food services accounted for 9% of events and 6% of initial claims during the month, mainly in full-service restaurants.   Construction also accounted for 9% of events and 6% of initial claims, mostly among specialty trade contractors.   An additional 4% of events and 5% of initial claims were from the information sector, largely in motion picture and sound recording.


Government establishments accounted for 6% of events and initial claims filed during the month, mostly in elementary and secondary schools.


Compared with September 2003, the largest decreases in initial claims were reported in computer and electronic products (-4,078), textile mills (-2,809), professional and technical services (-2,021), and motion picture and sound recording industries (-1,806).   The largest over-the-year increases in initial claims were reported in transportation equipment (+2,575) and electrical equipment and appliances (+2,069).