November 21, 2003
In the third quarter of 2003, 1,375 mass layoff actions were taken by employers that resulted in the separation of 268,020 workers from their jobs for at least 31 days.
Both the total number of layoff events and the number of separations were lower than in July-September 2002 and were the lowest for a third quarter since 2000. The decline from third quarter 2002 was most notable in computer and electronic product manufacturing, truck transportation, and general merchandise stores.
The completion of seasonal work accounted for 22 percent of all events and 74,805 separations during the period—the lowest level for a third quarter since 1998. Layoffs due to internal company restructuring represented 22 percent of events and resulted in 57,727 separations, both lower than a year earlier.
Permanent closure of worksites occurred in 14 percent of all events and affected 46,646 workers. A year earlier, such closures occurred in 21 percent of all events and affected 80,152 workers.
These data are from the Mass Layoff Statistics program. "Extended mass layoffs" last more than 30 days and involve 50 or more individuals from a single establishment filing initial claims for unemployment insurance during a consecutive 5-week period. Data for the third quarter of 2003 are preliminary and subject to revision. Additional information is available in "Extended Mass Layoffs in the Third Quarter of 2003" (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 03-742.