February 18, 2004
Employers reported 7,245 extended mass layoff actions in 2003, compared to 7,295 in 2002.
Thirteen percent of extended events in 2003 were permanent closures, accounting for 210,884 worker separations. When compared with 2002, the number of permanent closures declined by 22 percent, resulting in 92,787 fewer separations. Since 2001, when permanent closures were at their highest, the number of closures was down by 26 percent and the number of associated separations was down by 44 percent.
During 2003, permanent closures were most numerous in the manufacturing sector, primarily in computer and electronic products. Import competition was most often cited as the reason for closures in manufacturing during 2003, accounting for 19 percent of the total.
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 2003 are preliminary. Additional information is available in "Extended Mass Layoffs in the Fourth Quarter of 2003" (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 04-150.