May 19, 2004
In the first quarter of 2004, mass layoff actions taken by employers in the private nonfarm economy resulted in the separation of 239,361 workers from their jobs for at least 31 days.
The number of extended mass layoff separations was sharply lower than in January-March 2003 and was the lowest for a first quarter since 2000. ("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.)
Thirty-nine percent of separations occurred in metropolitan areas in the first quarter of 2004. Chicago, Illinois, reported more separations than any other metropolitan area, 10,859, mainly in specialty trade contractors. Next were Medford-Ashland, Oregon, with 3,360 separations and Los Angeles-Long Beach, California, with 3,161. The numbers for Chicago and Los Angeles-Long Beach were lower compared to the first quarter of 2003; the number for Medford-Ashland was higher, as that area had no extended mass layoffs in the first quarter of last year.
These data are from the BLS Mass Layoff Statistics program. Data for 2004 are preliminary and subject to revision. For more information, see "Extended Mass Layoffs in the First Quarter of 2004" (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 04-895.