MASS LAYOFFS -- APRIL 2011

Employers took 1,564 mass layoff actions in April involving 143,927 workers, seasonally
adjusted, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the
month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Each mass layoff involved
at least 50 workers from a single employer. The number of mass layoff events in April
increased by 278 from March, and the number of associated initial claims increased by
25,404. In April, 327 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector,
seasonally adjusted, resulting in 35,022 initial claims; both figures increased over
the month. (See table 1.)

The national unemployment rate was 9.0 percent in April, up from 8.8 percent the prior
month but down from 9.8 percent a year earlier. In April, total nonfarm payroll
employment increased by 244,000 over the month and by 1,313,000 from a year earlier.

Industry Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

The number of mass layoff events in April was 1,750, not seasonally adjusted, resulting
in 189,919 initial claims. The number of mass layoff events was down by 90 from April
2010, and associated initial claims decreased by 9,771. (See table 2.) Eleven of the
19 major industry sectors in the private economy reported over-the-year declines in
initial claims, with the largest decreases occurring in manufacturing, information, and
professional and technical services. The six-digit industry with the largest number of
initial claims in April 2011 was school and employee bus transportation. (See table A.
The table includes both publicly and privately owned entities.)

Table A. Industries with the largest number of mass layoff initial claims in April 2011,
not seasonally adjusted 

                                                                            April peak
                  Industry
                                                     Initial claims     Year  Initial claims

School and employee bus transportation ........          23,573         2011      23,573
Temporary help services (1) ...................          13,445         2001      17,507
Food service contractors ......................          11,002         2011      11,002
Motion picture and video production ...........           4,440         1997      15,908
Tax preparation services ......................           4,316         2010       6,514
Professional employer organizations (1) .......           4,289         2009       4,372
Light truck and utility vehicle manufacturing .             (2)         1997       4,978
Discount department stores ....................           3,273         2009       4,462
Hotels and motels, except casino hotels .......           3,102         2010       4,130
All other motor vehicle parts manufacturing ...           3,093         2011       3,093

   1  See the Technical Note for more information on these industries.
   2  Data do not meet BLS or state agency disclosure standards.

The manufacturing sector accounted for 23 percent of all mass layoff events and 25
percent of initial claims filed in April. A year earlier, manufacturing also made up 23
percent of events but covered 28 percent of all initial claims. Within manufacturing,
the number of claimants in April was greatest in the transportation equipment and food
subsectors. Thirteen of the 21 manufacturing subsectors experienced over-the-year
decreases in initial claims, with the largest declines occurring in transportation
equipment and machinery. (See table 3.)

Geographic Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

Three of the 4 regions and 6 of the 9 divisions experienced over-the-year decreases in
initial claims due to mass layoffs in April. Among the census regions, the West
registered the largest over-the-year decrease in initial claims. Of the geographic
divisions, the Pacific had the largest over-the-year decline in initial claims.
(See table 5.)The Middle Atlantic and East South Central divisions registered the
largest over-the-year increases in initial claims. The over-the-year increase in the
Middle Atlantic followed eight consecutive months of over-the-year decreases in initial
claims.

California recorded the highest number of initial claims in April, followed by New York,
New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Twenty-nine states experienced over-the-year decreases
in initial claims, led by California, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and South Carolina.
(See table 6.)

Note

The monthly data series in this release cover mass layoffs of 50 or more workers beginning
in a given month, regardless of the duration of the layoffs. For private nonfarm
establishments, information on the length of the layoff is obtained later and issued in a
quarterly release that reports on mass layoffs lasting more than 30 days (referred to as
"extended mass layoffs"). The quarterly release provides more information on the industry
classification and location of the establishment and on the demographics of the laid-off
workers. Because monthly figures include short-term layoffs of 30 days or less, the sum of the
figures for the 3 months in a quarter will be higher than the quarterly figure for mass
layoffs of more than 30 days. (See table 4.) See the Technical Note for more detailed
definitions.

Editors’ Note: The Obama administration has altered the calculation of unemployment, by redefining what they consider to be an unemployed person.  Consequently, the lagging nature of the unemployment figure has been extended yet further.  Typically, analysts consider the unemployment number to affirm other leading economic indicators.  The employment situation is now clouded in nuance, to the same degree as Obama’s overall Presidency; how else do you have a significant drop in new jobs, and a corresponding decrease in the actual unemployment rate? Oh yes, discouraged workers… more Obama nuance.

Keep a close watch on the ancillary reports which were not always in focus.  The week to week claims data is one leading number, that can not be discounted over the long term.  Accordingly, mass layoffs as noted in this BLS release demonstrate the high volume of workers losing their jobs, along with the equally high number that falls into the new claims report for the subsequent weeks in April.

The core issue, ignored by the Obama Administration, is the lack of skill sets the unemployed workers have to transfer them into new  positions.  Bush had offered