In September, 1,495 Mass Layoff Actions Affected 153,229 Workers

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—October 25, 2011.  Employers took 1,495 mass layoff actions in September involving 153,229 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 September decreased by 92 from August, and the number of associated initial claims decreased by 12,318. In September, 376 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 39,929 initial claims. (See table 1.)

The national unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in September, unchanged from the prior month but down from 9.6 percent a year earlier. In September, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 103,000 over the month and by 1,490,000 over the year.

Industry Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

The number of mass layoff events in September was 1,189, not seasonally adjusted, resulting in 117,232 initial claims for unemployment insurance. (See table 2.) Over the year, the number of average weekly mass layoff events increased by 8, and associated average weekly initial claims increased by 4,032. Ten of the 19 major industry sectors in the private sector reported over-the-year increases in average weekly initial claims, with the largest increase occurring in manufacturing. (Average weekly analysis mitigates the effect of differing lengths of months. See the Technical Note.) The six-digit industry with the largest number of initial claims in September was temporary help services. (See table A. The table includes both publicly and privately owned entities.)

The manufacturing sector accounted for 25 percent of all mass layoff events and 27 percent of initial claims filed in September. A year earlier, manufacturing made up 20 percent of events and 25 percent of initial claims. Within this sector, the numbers of mass layoff claimants in September 2011 was greatest in the food and transportation equipment subsectors. (See table 3.) Fifteen of the 21 manufacturing subsectors experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly initial claims, with the largest increases occurring in food and textile mills.

Geographic Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

All 4 regions and 6 of the 9 divisions experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance due to mass layoffs in September. Among the census regions, the Northeast had the largest over-the-year increase in average weekly initial claims. Of the geographic divisions, the Pacific and Middle Atlantic registered the largest over-the-year increases in average weekly initial claims.

California recorded the highest number of mass layoff initial claims in September, followed by Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, and Illinois. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia experienced over-the-year increases in average weekly initial claims, led by California and Pennsylvania. (See table 6.)


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.

To view the tables and Technical Note referenced above, see: