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Mass Layoff Statistics

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

Employers initiated 1,638 extended mass layoff events in the fourth quarter of 2011 that resulted in the separation of 266,971 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 917 and involved the separation of 154,723 workers. More complete information on fourth 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 fourth quarter was 1,573, a slight decrease from 1,897 business functions a year earlier. This decrease of 17 percent was smaller than the 22 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, 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 fourth quarter nonseasonal extended mass layoffs. Secondary functions most often reported by employers for layoff were general management, administrative and clerical support, and providing services. (See table 1.)

Business processes affected by all extended mass layoffs during the fourth quarter numbered 2,022, down from 2,392 a year earlier. Over the year, the number of reports decreased in 5 of the 6 core processes. In the fourth quarter of 2011, the largest number of processes per event occurred in layoffs due to financial issues and organizational reasons. (See table 2.)

The most common process affected by nonseasonal extended mass layoffs in the fourth quarter of 2011 was operations—the process most directly related to the key activity of the establishment. The numbers of core and support processes involved in nonseasonal extended mass layoffs declined in goods-producing industries by 30 percent and 31 percent, respectively. In service-producing industries, the number of core processes declined by 10 percent, while the number of support processes affected increased by 6 percent. (See table 3.)


Last Modified Date: March 7, 2012