April 29, 1999
Employers conducted 2,209 mass layoff actions involving 211,796 workers in January, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month. Both the number of layoff events and the number of initial claimants for unemployment insurance were lower in January 1999 than in January 1998. Each mass layoff involves at least 50 persons from a single establishment.
From January 1998 to January 1999, the number of mass layoffs in the West fell by 287 and related initial claims declined by 41,904 to 54,149. This reduction was almost entirely in the Pacific division, which includes California. Among States, California had the largest over-the-year decline in both mass layoff events (down by 317) and in initial claims (down by 47,217). There were 16 other States that experienced fewer mass layoffs in January 1999 than in January 1998.
On the other hand, 23 States reported more layoffs in January 1999 than they had experienced a year before. Michigan reported the largest over-the-year rises in both layoff events (up by 107) and initial claims (up by 5,127). At the broadest regional level, both the Midwest and the South reported increases in mass layoffs over the year, while the West and Northeast reported declines.
The mass layoff data are a product of the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program. The release containing data for January 1999 was the first to include regional and divisional aggregates as well as a State distribution of mass layoff events and initial claims. More information is available in "Mass Layoffs in January 1999," news release USDL 99-105.