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Mass layoffs reach high in March 2009

April 24, 2009

Employers took 2,933 mass layoff actions in March that resulted in the separation of 299,388 workers, seasonally adjusted, as measured by initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits filed during the month. Layoff events and initial claims rose to their highest levels on record, with data available back to 1995.

Mass layoff events, seasonally adjusted, January 2001-March 2009
[Chart data—TXT]

The number of mass layoff events in March increased by 164 from the prior month, while the number of associated initial claims increased by 3,911. Over the year, the number of mass layoff events increased by 1,348, and the number of associated initial claims increased by 137,891.

In March 2009, the manufacturing sector experienced 1,259 mass layoff events, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 155,909 claims. Over the month, mass layoff events in manufacturing increased by 24, and initial claims increased by 3,291. Layoff events in the manufacturing sector reached its highest level on record in March.

During the 16 months from December 2007 through March 2009, the total number of mass layoff events (seasonally adjusted) was 31,414, and the number of initial claims (seasonally adjusted) was 3,227,201. (December 2007 was the start of a recession as designated by the National Bureau of Economic Research).

These data are from the Mass Layoff Statistics program and are seasonally adjusted. Each mass layoff action involved at least 50 persons from a single employer. To learn more, see "Mass Layoffs in March 2009" (PDF) (HTML), news release USDL 09-0416.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Mass layoffs reach high in March 2009 at (visited May 18, 2024).

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