February 17, 2005
For all of 2004, employers reported 4,879 extended mass layoff actions, down from 6,181 events in 2003.
Manufacturing accounted for the largest share of extended layoff events in 2004—29 percent. However, this was the smallest share on record for this industry group. Since reaching a peak in 2001, the number of manufacturing events has declined by 56 percent.
In 2004, seasonal work continued to be the most frequently cited reason for layoff, accounting for 33 percent of all layoff events. The seasonal layoffs in 2004 occurred primarily in establishments engaged in food manufacturing, heavy and civil engineering construction, and in transit and ground passenger transportation.
Permanent closures were 15 percent of extended mass layoff events in 2004. As was the case among all events, permanent closures were most numerous in manufacturing.
These data come from the BLS Mass Layoff Statistics program. To learn more, see "Extended Mass Layoffs in the Fourth Quarter of 2004 and Annual Averages for 2004" (PDF) (TXT), news release USDL 05-264. Extended layoff events consist of fifty or more initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits from an establishment during a 5-week period, with at least 50 workers separated for more than 30 days. Data for 2004 are preliminary.