November Mass Layoffs Shoot Up

December 24, 2002 ( - The number of mass layoffs in the US shot up in November, according to the government.

The latest data from the US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed 2,150 November mass layoffs involving 240,028 workers. The layoffs number is up 43.6% from October while the number of affected workers climbed 40.2%. (See  Mass Layoffs Show Increase in October).

However, on a year to date basis through November, the total number of layoffs, 17,799, and initial claims, 1,980,856, were lower than in January through November 2001 (19,027 and 2,245,969, respectively), the BLS said.

Still hard hit – but somewhat less so than last year – were manufacturing industries, which accounted for 33% of all mass layoffs and 39% of all initial jobless claims filed in November.

A year earlier, layoffs in this sector accounted for 41% of layoffs and 51% of initial claims, the BLS said.

Within manufacturing, the number of initial claims was highest in:

  • transportation equipment (14,322)
  • food processing (12,149, mostly in frozen fruits and vegetables)
  • machinery (11,280, largely in construction machinery).

Some 15% of all layoffs and 13% of all initial claims filed during the month were in construction, mostly in highway, street, and bridge building.  Some 12% of the layoffs and initial claims in November were from administrative and waste services, largely temporary help services. 

BLS said agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting accounted for 11% of layoffs and 7% of initial claims, primarily among farm labor contractors and crew leaders.  Professional and technical services contributed an additional 3% to all layoffs and 4% to all initial claims this November, mainly from payroll services.

Government establishments accounted for 3% of layoffs and of initial claims filed during the month, particularly in educational services.

The monthly data in this release cover mass layoffs of 50 or more from a single employer.