February 13, 2004
In the fourth quarter of 2003, 1,956 mass layoff actions were taken by employers that resulted in the separation of 359,085 workers from their jobs for at least 31 days.
Both the total number of extended mass layoff events and the number of separations were sharply lower than in October-December 2002 and were the lowest for a fourth quarter since 1999.
The completion of seasonal work accounted for 50 percent of all events and 198,054 separations during the period—the lowest level for a fourth quarter since 1999. Layoffs due to internal company restructuring represented 14 percent of events and resulted in 49,091 separations, both lower than a year earlier.
Permanent closure of worksites occurred in 10 percent of all events and affected 31,711 workers, the lowest level for any fourth quarter. Forty percent of the employers anticipating a recall expected to extend the offer to all laid-off workers, the highest proportion for a fourth quarter since 2000.
These data are a product of 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 fourth quarter of 2003 are preliminary and subject to revision. Additional information is available in "Extended Mass Layoffs in the Fourth Quarter of 2003 and Annual Averages for 2003", news release USDL 04-150.