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Mass Layoff Statistics

Business Functions and Processes in Extended Mass Layoffs in the Third Quarter 2009

Employers initiated 1,776 extended mass layoff events in the third quarter of 2009 that resulted in the separation of 277,924 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 1,518 and involved the separation of 231,223 workers. More complete information on third 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 third quarter was 2,901, a slight increase from 2,888 business functions a year earlier. This increase of less than 1 percent was lower than the over-the-year increase in nonseasonal extended mass layoff events (11 percent), indicating fewer activities within firms were impacted in third quarter 2009 layoff events than a year ago.

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

Business processes affected by extended mass layoffs during the third quarter numbered 2,198, up from 2,035 a year earlier. Over the year, the number of reports increased for three of the five core processes, with product development and operations experiencing the largest percentage increases. Two of the three support processes involved in layoffs decreased, with human resource management having the largest percentage decrease. (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 third 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 core processes increased, while support processes decreased in both goods-producing and service-providing industries. (See table 3.)


Last Modified Date: November 24, 2009