Mass Layoffs Soar 50% in Q2

August 22, 2001( Lucent, Philips, Cap Gemini - mass layoffs have been adding up, reaching 1,911 in the second quarter of the year, according to preliminary data released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In total, some 371,708 workers were separated from their jobs for more than 30 days over the quarter, significantly more than the previous quarter’s 340,780 figure. However, since the figures are not seasonally adjusted comparisons of consecutive quarters don’t necessarily indicate a trend.

In contrast, the second quarter of last year saw 1,271 layoff events, involving 258,608 workers.

The figures for the first six months of the year are similarly bleak. For the entire first half of the year the number of worker separations reached 712,488, up from 513,254 during the same period a year ago.

In Season

Seasonal factors accounted for 27% of all mass layoffs, and resulted in 122,615 separations.  For instance, the school busing service saw 23,385 workers separated from their jobs and 8,583 of those who working in tax preparation services lost their jobs once the tax season came to an end.

Some 16% of mass layoffs were followed by worksites closing their gates for good, resulting in 78,452 workers losing their jobs, compared to 43,948 in 2000. And less than 50% of the employers conducting mass layoffs anticipate having some sort of recall, the smallest proportion since the series began in 1995.

Nitty Gritty

The quarterly series on extended mass layoffs cover layoffs of at least 31-days duration that involve 50 or more individuals from a single establishment filing initial claims for unemployment insurance during a consecutive 5-week period.

Data for the second quarter are preliminary and subject to revision.