Business Functions and Processes in Extended Mass Layoffs in the First Quarter 2012

Employers initiated 1,077 extended mass layoff events in the first quarter of 2012 that resulted in the separation of 182,101 workers from their jobs for at least 31 days, according to preliminary figures released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Extended mass layoff events related to nonseasonal economic reasons totaled 780 and involved the separation of 137,999 workers. More complete information on first quarter 2012 extended mass layoffs can be obtained from the news release (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/mslo_05162012.htm).

The total number of business functions reported by employers in nonseasonal layoff events in the first quarter was 1,515, a decrease from 2,008 business functions a year earlier. This decrease of 25 percent was smaller than the 29 percent over-the-year decrease in nonseasonal extended mass layoff events, meaning more functions on average were involved in each extended mass layoff event than a year ago.

Construction activities and producing goods were cited most often by employers as the main business function—that which involves the most laid-off workers—involved in first quarter nonseasonal extended mass layoffs. Secondary functions most often reported by employers for layoff were general management, customer service, first-line supervision, and administrative and clerical support. (See table 1.)

Business processes affected by all extended mass layoffs during the first quarter numbered 1,449, down from 1,886 a year earlier. Over the year, the number of reports decreased in 5 of the 6 core processes and in 2 of the 3 support processes. In the first quarter of 2012, the largest numbers of processes per event occurred in layoffs due to organizational reasons and financial issues. (See table 2.)

The most common process affected by nonseasonal extended mass layoffs in the first quarter of 2012 was operations—the process most directly related to the key activity of the establishment. Total core and support processes involved in nonseasonal extended mass layoffs decreased over the year in both goods-producing and service-providing industries. (See table 3.)