April 15, 1999
U.S. employers conducted 5,759 extended mass layoffs during 1998, resulting in 1,163,805 worker separations. These events and separations were slightly higher than comparative figures for 1997 (5,645 and 1,112,513, respectively). Extended mass layoffs last at least 31 days and involve at least 50 workers from a single establishment.
Seasonal work accounted for 50 percent of the separations and 45 percent of events in the fourth quarter of 1998. Over the year, layoff events resulting from import competition and slack work and separations caused by reorganizations reported the largest numerical increases. Layoff events caused by seasonal work and separations caused by financial difficulty experienced the largest numerical declines over the year.
Thirty-five percent of all layoff events and 34 percent of all separations occurred in manufacturing during the fourth quarter of 1998. Over the year, construction reported the largest decline in events, while wholesale and retail trade had the largest decline in separations. Manufacturing experienced the largest increase in layoff events over the year, while agriculture reported the largest increase in separations.
These data on mass layoff events are produced by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program. More information can be found in news release USDL 99-95, "Extended Mass Layoffs in the Fourth Quarter of 1998." Extended mass layoffs are defined as layoffs of at least 31-days duration involving 50 or more workers from a single establishment filing initial claims for unemployment insurance during a consecutive 5-week period. Data are not seasonally adjusted.