Mass Layoff Statistics

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Employers initiated 2,994 extended mass layoff events in the second quarter of 2009 that resulted in the separation of 534,881 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 2,323 and involved the separation of 395,650 workers. More complete information on second quarter 2009 extended mass layoffs can be obtained from the news release (

The total number of business functions reported by employers in nonseasonal layoff events in the second quarter was 4,680, up from 1,979 business functions a year earlier. The rise in the number of business functions involved in mass layoffs indicates that more activities within firms were being impacted.

Producing goods was cited most often by employers as the main business function—that which involves the most laid-off workers—involved in second quarter nonseasonal extended mass layoffs. The next most frequently cited main business functions were construction activites, fabricating, and selling. Secondary functions most often reported by employers for layoff were administrative support, general management, clerical support, first-line supervision, human resources (including recruiting), and facility maintenance services. (See Table 1.)

Business processes affected by extended mass layoffs during the second quarter numbered 3,931, up from 2,204 a year earlier. Over the year, the number of all core processes affected by mass layoff events increased, with procurement, logistics, and distribution and product development more than doubling. All support processes involved in layoffs also rose, with technology and process development more than quadrupling. (See Table 2.)

Among the full range of business processes a firm engages in to conduct its business, the most common process affected by nonseasonal extended mass layoffs in the second quarter 2009 was operations—the process most directly related to the key activity of the establishment. General management and firm infrastructure and procurement, logistics, and distribution were the next most frequently reported processes. Compared to the previous year, the number of employers citing cutbacks in technology and process development more than quintupled in goods-producing industries and more than doubled in service-providing industries. (See Table 3.)


Last Modified Date: November 24, 2009