February 15, 2008
Construction industries experienced a record high number of extended mass layoff events (622) and separations (78,716) in the fourth quarter of 2007.
The largest number of separations was in heavy and civil engineering construction (mostly associated with highway, street, and bridge construction), followed by specialty trade contractors and construction of buildings.
Other industries registering fourth quarter highs in terms of separated workers were arts, entertainment, and recreation and finance and insurance, the latter mostly due to higher layoff activity in credit intermediation and related activities.
Manufacturing accounted for 24 percent of events and 27 percent of separations in the fourth quarter, largely in food manufacturing and transportation equipment manufacturing. Layoffs in the administrative and waste services sector accounted for 8 percent of all extended mass layoff events and 7 percent of separations. The layoffs in this sector were concentrated in landscaping services.
In the total private nonfarm sector, the total number of layoff events and the number of separations were lower in the fourth quarter of 2007 than during the October-December 2006 time period.
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 fourth quarter of 2007 are preliminary and subject to revision. Additional information is available in "Extended Mass Layoffs in the Fourth Quarter of 2007 and Annual Totals for 2007," (PDF) (HTML) news release USDL 08-0204.