Mass Layoffs Moderate in March

April 24, 2002 ( - Employers initiated 1,460 mass layoff actions in March 2002 a small decrease from February's total of 1,383, new data from the US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show.

Each mass layoff action involves at least 50 persons from a single company. The number of workers involved totaled 161,336.

The number is higher than the previous month, which saw 138,984 workers axed. The data are based on new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during March.

Compared with March 2001, the number of layoff events fell by 4% and the number of unemployed workers claiming benefits fell by 6%.

This was the third time in the last four months that layoff events and related initial claims declined compared to the same month the previous year, the BLS commented.

Over the first quarter of 2002:

  • the total number of layoff events was 4,989
  • total initial claims were 564,141.

In comparison, in the first quarter of last year:

  • mass layoff events totaled 4,550
  • initial claimants totaled 544,717.

According to the BLS, manufacturing industries accounted for 34% of all mass layoff events and 37% of all initial claims filed in March.

The number of initial claimants was highest in food production followed by transportation equipment, computer and electronic products, and machinery manufacturing.