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Mass Layoff Statistics

Business Functions and Processes in Extended Mass Layoffs in the Third Quarter 2011

Employers initiated 1,226 extended mass layoff events in the third quarter of 2011 that resulted in the separation of 184,493 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 944 and involved the separation of 145,730 workers. More complete information on third quarter 2011 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 1,665, a slight decrease from 1,687 business functions a year earlier. This decrease of 1 percent was lower than the 5 percent over-the-year decrease in nonseasonal extended mass layoff events, meaning slightly more functions on average were involved in each extended mass layoff event than a year ago.

Construction activities, producing goods, and contracted services were 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. Secondary functions most often reported by employers for layoff were administrative and clerical support, general management, and first-line supervision. (See table 1.)

Business processes affected by all extended mass layoffs during the third quarter numbered 1,547, down slightly from 1,564 a year earlier. Over the year, the number of reports decreased in 4 of the 6 core processes. One support process involved in layoffs decreased, one process increased, and one process remained the same. In the third quarter of 2011, the largest number of processes per event occurred in layoffs due to financial issues and disaster/safety reasons. (See table 2.)

The most common process affected by nonseasonal extended mass layoffs in the third quarter of 2011 was operations—the process most directly related to the key activity of the establishment. Support processes involved in nonseasonal extended mass layoffs declined by 29 percent in goods-producing industries and increased by 13 percent in service-providing industries. (See table 3.)


Last Modified Date: November 15, 2011