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1,331 mass layoff actions affected 129,887 workers in November

Employers took 1,331 mass layoff actions in November involving 129,887 workers, seasonally adjusted, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on December 22, 2011.

Each mass layoff involved at least 50 workers from a single employer. The number of mass layoff events in November decreased by 22 from October, while the number of associated initial claims increased by 11,198. In November, 322 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 36,343 initial claims.

The national unemployment rate was 8.6 percent in November, down from 9.0 percent the prior month and from 9.8 percent a year earlier. In November, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 120,000 over the month and by 1,600,000 over the year.

Industry Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

The number of mass layoff events in November was 1,393, not seasonally adjusted, resulting in 127,750 initial claims for unemployment insurance. Over the year, the number of average weekly mass layoff events decreased by 71 to 348, and associated average weekly initial claims decreased by 7,574 to 31,938. Thirteen of the 19 major industry sectors in the private economy reported over-the-year decreases in average weekly initial claims, with the largest decreases occurring in information, construction, and administrative and waste services.  The six-digit industry with the largest number of private nonfarm initial claims in November 2011 was highway, street, and bridge construction.

The manufacturing sector accounted for 25 percent of all mass layoff events and 30 percent of initial claims filed in November. A yearearlier, manufacturing made up 23 percent of events and 26 percent of initial claims. Within this sector, the numbers of mass layoff claimants in November 2011 was greatest in the transportation equipment, food, and machinery subsectors. Fifteen of the 21 manufacturing subsectors experienced over-the-year decreases in average weekly initial claims, with the largest decrease occurring in electrical equipment and appliances.

Table A. Six-digit NAICS industries with the largest number of mass layoff initial
claims in November 2011, private nonfarm, not seasonally adjusted

Industry, Initial Claims, Year, Initial claims

Highway, street, and bridge construction .. 9,355, 2001, 14,641
Temporary help services (1) …………… 8,767, 2000, 19,023
Food service contractors ……………… 5,672, 2007, 6,163
School and employee bus transportation …. 5,068, 2011, 5,068
Automobile manufacturing ……………… 3,074, 2007, 8,416
Motion picture and video production ……. 2,073, 2000, 8,664
Professional employer organizations (1) … 2,007, 2008, 5,873
Travel trailer and camper manufacturing … 1,793, 2006, 3,548
Landscaping services …………………. 1,653, 2002, 2,129
Industrial building construction ………. 1,555, 2002, 3,306

Geographic Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

Among the census regions, the Midwest registered the greatest numbers of initial claims in November. Three of the 4 regions experienced over-the-year decreases in average weekly initial claims, with the largest decline occurring in the West.

Among the states, California recorded the highest number of mass layoff initial claims in November, followed by Wisconsin, Texas, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia experienced over-the-year declines in average weekly initial claims, led by California and North Carolina.


The monthly data series in this release cover mass layoffs of 50 or more workers beginning in a given month, regardless of the duration of the layoffs. For private nonfarm establishments, information on the length of the layoff is obtained later and issued in a quarterly release that reports on mass layoffs lasting more than 30 days (referred to as “extended mass layoffs”). The quarterly release provides more information on the industry classification and location of the establishment and on the demographics of the laid-off workers. The monthly data series in this release are subjected to average weekly analysis, which mitigates the effect of differing lengths
of months. See the Technical Note for more detailed definitions and for a description of average weekly analysis.

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