News Release Information

12-1503-SAN

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

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Mass Layoffs in California – 2011 Annual Totals

Employers in California took 4,378 mass layoff actions in 2011 that resulted in the separation of 377,413 workers, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See chart 1.) Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single employer. Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance has declined each of the last two years after reaching 532,028 in 2009. Initial claims have exceeded 500,000 five times in the history of the series, which goes back to 1996 on an annual basis.

Chart 1. Mass layoff initial claims, California, annual totals, 2006-2011

Industry distribution

Of all the industry sectors in California, administrative and waste services experienced the most mass layoff events in 2011 with 597. (See table 1.) This sector also had the largest number of initial claimants at 60,147, making up 15.9 percent of the state’s total. (See chart 1.) Local government was second with 492 mass layoff events, though the 38,743 associated initial claims for unemployment ranked third. Information, with 284 events, ranked second in claims with 55,969. Combined, these three industry sectors accounted for 41.0 percent of all initial claimants in the state in 2011.

Of those sectors recording a drop in mass layoffs-related initial claims from 2010 to 2011, manufacturing had the largest decline at 11,390, with the transportation equipment and computer and electronics equipment industries accounting for nearly half of the decrease. Construction had the second-largest decline (-8,095), followed by local government (-7,962).  Five other sectors finished 2011 with at least 1,000 fewer initial claimants than in 2010, and four of these registered drops of more than 2,500. (See table A.) On a percentage basis, mining experienced the largest over-the-year decrease in annual claims, down 60.8 percent, followed by federal government, down 55.1 percent.

Table A. Sectors with at least 1,000 fewer mass layoff initial claims in 2011, California
Sector Net change from 2009–10 Net change from 2010–11
Manufacturing
-18,351 -11,390
Construction
-13,714 -8,095
Local government
-2,106 -7,962
Finance and insurance
-4,504 -4,197
Accommodation and food services
-6,810 -3,788
Transportation and warehousing
-3,873 -2,844
Retail trade
-12,798 -2,607
Wholesale trade
-3,680 -1,952

In contrast, the number of initial claims associated with mass layoff events in 2011 increased in six industry sectors. Three of these sectors finished the year with at least 1,000 more claimants above the 2010 level. Administrative and waste services led with 2,221 more claims, an increase of 3.8 percent. Information had the second highest increase in claims, up 2,065 or 3.8 percent, followed by professional and technical services, up 1,271 or 5.9 percent.

State Comparisons

Among the states, California recorded the highest number of mass layoff initial claims, 377,413, in 2011. Pennsylvania ranked second with 124,838, followed by New York (119,398) and Florida (79,766). Twenty-nine states experienced over-the-year decreases in total initial claims for the year, led by California (-42,396), Illinois (-19,191), and Florida (-9,010). One state, South Dakota, experienced no change in its initial claims count, while twenty states and the District of Columbia had increases in annual claims from 2010 to 2011, led by North Carolina (22,393) and Pennsylvania (12,270). In three of these states, Arkansas, Nebraska, and North Carolina, initial claims reached a series high in 2011.

Technical Note

The Mass Layoff Statistics (MLS) program is a federal-state program that uses a standardized automated approach to identifying, describing, and tracking the effects of major job cutbacks, using data from each state's unemployment insurance database. Each month, states report on employers which have at least 50 initial claims filed against them during a consecutive 5-week period. These employers then are contacted by the state agency to determine whether these separations lasted 31 days or longer, and, if so, other information concerning the layoff is collected. States report on layoffs lasting more than 1 month on a quarterly basis.

A given month contains an aggregation of the weekly unemployment insurance claims filings for the Sunday through Saturday weeks in that month. All weeks are included for the particular month, except if the first day of the month falls on Saturday. In this case, the week is included in the prior month's tabulations. This means that some months will contain 4 weeks and others, 5 weeks. The number of weeks in a given month may be different from year to year, and the number of weeks in a year may vary. Therefore, analysis of over-the-month and over-the-year change in not seasonally adjusted series should take this calendar effect into consideration.

The MLS program resumed operations in April 1995 after it had been terminated in November 1992 due to lack of funding. Prior to April 1995, monthly layoff statistics were not available.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

Definitions.  Employer. Employers in the MLS program include those covered by state unemployment insurance laws. Information on employers is obtained from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program, which is administered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Industry. Employers are classified according to the 2007 version of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). For temporary help and professional employer organization industries, monthly MLS-related statistics generally reflect layoffs related to underlying client companies in other industries. An individual layoff action at a client company can be small, but when initial claimants associated with many such layoffs are assigned to a temporary help or professional employer organization firm, a mass layoff event may trigger.

Initial claimant. A person who files any notice of unemployment to initiate a request either for a determination of entitlement to and eligibility for compensation, or for a subsequent period of unemployment within a benefit year or period of eligibility.

Mass layoff event. Fifty or more initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits filed against an employer during a 5-week period, regardless of duration.


Additional information

For personal assistance or further information on the Mass Layoffs Statistics program, as well as other Bureau programs, contact the Western Information Office at (415) 625-2270 from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PT.

Table 1. Mass layoff events and initial claimants for unemployment insurance, California, selected sectors, annual totals
Industry Mass layoff events Initial claims for unemployment insurance
2008 2009 2010 2011 2008 2009 2010 2011

Total, all industries (1)

5,403 6,377 5,110 4,378 446,480 532,028 419,809 377,413

  Total private

4,946 5,703 4,429 3,807 414,482 476,886 367,356 332,667

    Agriculture forestry fishing and hunting

563 584 570 503 38,080 38,326 36,488 33,730

      Crop production

183 198 205 178 12,968 13,585 13,255 12,470

      Agriculture and forestry support activities

379 382 362 322 25,067 24,562 23,059 21,120

  Total private nonfarm

4,383 5,119 3,859 3,304 376,402 438,560 330,868 298,937

    Mining quarrying and oil and gas extraction

7 24 11 8 430 1,374 988 387

      Support activities for mining

(3) 18 (3) 5 (3) 1,059 (3) 267

    Utilities

11 10 7 9 729 641 485 491

    Construction

729 744 520 394 43,450 44,188 30,474 22,379

      Construction of buildings

108 111 70 38 6,164 6,361 3,666 2,124

      Heavy and civil engineering construction

200 187 148 117 13,003 12,709 9,996 7,013

      Specialty trade contractors

421 446 302 239 24,283 25,118 16,812 13,242

    Manufacturing

600 808 498 353 39,631 55,557 37,206 25,816

      Food

141 126 130 117 12,013 10,896 10,521 9,976

      Beverage and tobacco products

24 24 26 19 1,683 1,373 1,668 1,317

      Apparel (2)

23 34 20 13 1,346 2,208 1,511 1,936

      Wood products

36 42 16 12 2,589 3,829 1,679 1,077

      Paper

13 16 7 (3) 776 808 338 (3)

      Printing and related support activities

9 13 11 (3) 575 828 570 (3)

      Petroleum and coal products

4 (3) 7 (3) 243 (3) 465 (3)

      Chemicals

15 23 11 9 683 1,232 518 647

      Plastics and rubber products (2)

16 23 18 (3) 871 1,252 862 (3)

      Nonmetallic mineral products

69 69 47 19 3,877 4,430 2,963 1,209

      Primary metals

8 18 8 6 461 1,012 372 311

      Fabricated metal products

36 51 30 22 2,112 2,775 1,839 1,220

      Machinery (2)

22 47 20 11 1,333 4,188 1,207 575

      Computer and electronic products

83 180 79 54 5,138 12,304 4,907 2,878

      Electrical equipment and appliances

5 24 10 (3) 298 1,356 655 (3)

      Transportation equipment (2)

51 68 36 30 3,181 4,443 6,013 2,381

      Furniture and related products (2)

24 16 7 (3) 1,237 792 361 (3)

      Miscellaneous manufacturing (2)

19 19 14 13 1,100 1,091 684 679

    Wholesale trade

106 168 107 79 5,646 10,009 6,329 4,377

      Merchant wholesalers durable goods

54 79 37 24 2,827 4,808 2,193 1,244

      Merchant wholesalers nondurable goods

37 60 45 37 2,110 3,722 2,714 2,160

      Electronic markets and agents and brokers

15 29 25 18 709 1,479 1,422 973

    Retail trade

510 532 425 383 49,484 53,295 40,497 37,791

      Motor vehicle and parts dealers

57 42 21 17 3,205 2,203 1,235 963

      Furniture and home furnishings stores

31 21 10 8 2,024 1,211 529 412

      Electronics and appliance stores

33 43 25 18 2,719 4,179 2,111 1,302

      Building material and garden supply stores

24 33 18 16 3,386 3,522 2,521 2,530

      Food and beverage stores

81 84 87 80 8,618 8,277 7,420 5,947

      Health and personal care stores

28 31 27 29 2,593 3,311 2,158 2,680

      Gasoline stations

10 8 6 9 498 602 348 433

      Clothing and clothing accessories stores

92 121 103 91 6,117 7,707 6,270 5,605

      Sporting goods hobby book and music stores

38 43 40 33 2,268 3,249 2,604 2,760

      General merchandise stores

73 68 55 51 15,656 16,652 13,287 13,293

      Miscellaneous store retailers

32 34 27 26 1,774 2,145 1,748 1,615

      Nonstore retailers

11 4 6 5 626 237 266 251

    Transportation and warehousing

175 181 131 105 16,763 15,569 11,696 8,852

      Air transportation

7 9 7 3 766 796 438 190

      Truck transportation

75 77 50 36 4,675 5,332 2,964 1,842

      Transit and ground passenger transportation

46 44 39 36 5,859 4,500 4,848 3,628

      Support activities for transportation

19 23 15 9 2,798 2,317 1,607 1,800

      Couriers and messengers

16 16 9 8 1,927 1,908 1,205 771

      Warehousing and storage

(3) 8 (3) 8 (3) 441 (3) 336

    Information

328 368 291 284 53,940 63,817 53,904 55,969

      Publishing industries except Internet

39 48 28 11 2,463 3,489 1,493 584

      Motion picture and sound recording industries

216 241 205 219 46,211 54,386 48,017 51,254

      Broadcasting except Internet

30 31 22 23 1,974 2,224 1,645 1,499

      Telecommunications

36 35 30 24 2,968 2,933 2,461 2,158

      Other information services

(3) 7 (3) 5 (3) 443 (3) 378

      Credit intermediation and related activities

116 91 64 49 9,421 8,450 5,452 4,367

      Securities commodity contracts investments

12 26 13 9 730 1,523 742 522

      Insurance carriers and related activities

81 97 68 50 6,428 7,380 5,322 3,855

      Funds trusts and other financial vehicles (2)

(3) 33 41 31 (3) 1,780 3,113 1,643

      Real estate (2)

22 27 21 9 1,167 1,531 1,064 460

      Rental and leasing services

40 53 27 24 2,179 3,194 1,556 1,290

      Administrative and support services (2)

740 782 594 594 76,459 82,969 57,635 60,017

      Waste management and remediation services

(3) 9 7 (3) (3) 451 291 (3)

      Ambulatory health care services

34 42 36 44 1,861 2,229 2,016 2,437

      Hospitals

44 47 45 51 3,105 3,467 3,012 3,211

      Nursing and residential care facilities

24 31 29 33 1,193 1,550 1,472 1,627

      Social assistance

62 70 87 81 4,223 4,871 6,385 5,484

      Performing arts and spectator sports

67 81 78 70 3,953 5,468 5,159 5,259

      Amusements gambling and recreation

55 72 67 60 3,652 4,684 4,799 4,139

      Accommodations

100 147 103 72 6,300 10,705 7,031 5,094

      Food services and drinking places

209 236 197 175 14,594 17,691 14,555 12,704

      Repair and maintenance

10 12 8 7 503 542 466 422

      Personal and laundry services

15 32 19 14 757 1,577 1,011 767

      Membership associations and organizations

18 30 39 25 1,465 1,933 2,153 1,620

    Federal

5 4 4 3 531 546 758 340

    State

64 81 77 76 4,363 5,785 4,990 5,663

    Local

388 589 600 492 27,104 48,811 46,705 38,743
Footnotes:
(1) Total includes all industries including those not listed in the table.
(2) Data beginning in 2008 are not strictly comparable to prior years due to a change in NAICS versions.
(3) Data do not meet BLS or state agency disclosure standards.

NOTE: Dash represents zero.

Last Modified Date: July 24, 2012