November 13, 2009
Employers initiated 1,776 mass layoff events in the third quarter of 2009 that resulted in the separation of 277,924 workers from their jobs for at least 31 days. In the third quarter of 2008, mass layoff events numbered 1,581, and separations, 290,453.
The number of extended mass layoff events in the third quarter of 2009 reached a record high for any third quarter (with data available back to 1995). Third quarter program highs in the number of events were also recorded in 2 of the 4 geographic regions, 4 of the 9 divisions, and 15 states. There were 9 of the 18 major industry sectors that reported third quarter program highs in 2009 in terms of the number of extended mass layoff events in the private nonfarm sector.
The average size of a layoff (as measured by separations per layoff event) in the third quarter of 2009 was 156, down 28 from the third quarter a year earlier.
These data are from the Mass Layoff Statistics program. Data for the most recent quarter are preliminary. See "Extended Mass Layoffs — Third Quarter of 2009" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL 09-1358, to learn more. The quarterly series on extended mass layoffs cover layoffs of at least 31-days duration that involve 50 or more individuals from a single employer filing initial claims for unemployment insurance during a consecutive 5-week period.