The Grim Reaper Report on November Mass Layoffs

Thursday, December 21, 2006 at 01:55 PM

From the BLS report on Mass Layoffs for November:

In November, employers took 1,208 mass layoff actions, seasonally adjusted, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department
of Labor reported today.  Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single establishment, and the number of workers involved totaled 136,415, on a seasonally adjusted basis.  The number of mass layoff events increased by 37 from the prior month, and the number of associated initial claims increased by 22,691.
On a not seasonally adjusted basis, the number of mass layoff events  in November, at 1,315, was up by 61 from a year earlier, and the number of associated initial claims increased by 20,059 to 136,186.

As to what fields were hardest hit:

During November, 415 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 60,827 initial claims.  Both the number of events and the number of initial claims in manufacturing were higher in November than a month earlier.  (See table 1.)

The national unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in November, seasonally adjusted, essentially unchanged from 4.4 percent the prior month and down from 5.0 percent a year earlier.  Total nonfarm payroll employment, seasonally adjusted, increased by 132,000 over the month and by about 1.8 million over the year.
The manufacturing sector accounted for 35 percent of all mass layoff events and 43 percent of all initial claims filed in November; a year earlier, manufacturing comprised 29 percent of events and 36 percent of initial claims.  In November 2006, the number of manufacturing claimants was highest in transportation equipment manufacturing (13,352, mostly in motor vehicle manufacturing), followed by food manufacturing (7,222) and machinery manufacturing (6,563).  (See table 3.)

Construction accounted for 16 percent of events and 13 percent of initial claims in November, mostly from heavy and civil engineering construction.  Administrative and waste services comprised 12 percent  of events and 9 percent of initial claims filed over the month, with the majority of layoffs in temporary help services and professional employer organizations.  Accommodation and food services reported 6 percent of events and 7 percent of initial claims, mainly from food service contractors.  Eight percent of all layoff events and 5 percent of initial claims  filed were from agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, primarily from  the farm labor contractors and crew leaders industry.

And here is the supposed "good news" on layoffs this year:

From January through November 2006, the total number of initial claims due to mass layoffs, at 1,229,888, was the lowest reported for any January-November period in program history (1996 to date).

Don't know about you, but I feel much better.