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Mass Layoff Statistics

Business Functions and Processes in Extended Mass Layoffs in the Third Quarter 2012

Employers initiated 885 extended mass layoff events in the third quarter of 2012 that resulted in the separation of 138,484 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 706 and involved the separation of 112,193 workers. More complete information on third quarter 2012 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 1,373, a decrease from 1,872 business functions a year earlier. This decrease of 27 percent was smaller than the 35 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 third-quarter nonseasonal extended mass layoffs. Secondary functions most often reported by employers for layoff were administrative and clerical support, general management, customer service, and human resources, including recruiting. (See table 1.)

Business processes affected by all extended mass layoffs during the second quarter numbered 1,125, down from 1,712 a year earlier. Over the year, the number of reports decreased in 5 of the 6 core processes and all support processes. In the third quarter of 2012, the largest number of processes per event occurred in layoffs due to disaster/safety reasons and organizational changes. (See table 2.)

The most common process affected by nonseasonal extended mass layoffs in the third quarter of 2012 was operations—the process most directly related to the key activity of the establishment. Total core and support processes involved in nonseasonal extended mass layoffs decreased over the year in both goods-producing and service-providing industries. (See table 3.)