February 23, 2010
For all of 2009, employers reported 11,452 extended mass layoff actions, affecting 2,023,392 workers. Both layoff events and separations reached record highs.
Compared with 2008, the number of events in 2009 increased by 39 percent and the number of separations increased by 33 percent.
In the private nonfarm economy, all major industry sectors, except utilities and information, reported program highs in terms of events and separations in 2009. Manufacturing firms reported the highest number of separations, with 652,886, followed by administrative and waste services (232,817), construction (232,279), and retail trade (166,763). Within manufacturing, the largest number of separations was associated with transportation equipment, followed by food and machinery.
Among the seven categories of economic reasons for layoff, business demand factors accounted for 46 percent of the events and 40 percent of separations during 2009; both proportions are record highs for the series. The largest increases in events were related to business demand factors and financial issues.
These data are from the Mass Layoff Statistics program. Annual data are not seasonally adjusted. Extended mass layoffs cover layoffs of at least 31-days duration that involve 50 or more individuals from a single employer. To learn more, see "Extended Mass Layoffs — Fourth Quarter 2009; Annual Totals — 2009" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL-10-0171.