Lies and layoffs, lies and layoffs, go together like pols and payoffs

Friday, June 23, 2006 at 04:20 PM

On our spinning planet, some crap just goes together: politicians and payoffs; elections and red herring issues; Ann Coulter and slimy lies; lies and job statistics.

Every month the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issues a report on Mass Layoffs for the previous month. Every so often, the President or one of his Spokespeople, like new Press Secretary Tony Snow, reassure the country that the jobs market is just Jim F'ing Dandy.

Welcome to Lies and Layoffs for May, 2006, with bonus coverage of what the report for June may look like.

Tony Snow in the Press Briefing for today, June 23, 2006:

Meanwhile, also, as you know, unemployment claims are at 308,000, and while that was higher than the week before, it's still historically low and indicates that there is still considerable job growth.

A summary of the BLS MASS LAYOFFS IN MAY 2006 report:

In May 2006, employers took 1,074 mass layoff measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month...Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single establishment, and the number of workers involved totaled 109,858, on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Temporary help services, with 8,156 initial claims, and food service contractors, with 5,078 claims, together accounted for 16 percent of all initial claims in May.

The manufacturing sector accounted for 22 percent of all mass layoff events and 28 percent of all initial claims filed in May.
Nine percent of all layoff events and initial claims filed during the month were from retail trade, primarily in general merchandise stores.

For the year 2006 to date (Jan. thru May), total mass layoffs are:

Month Events People Affected

January 1,113 108,378
February 1,073 111,468
March 1,082 118,555
April 1,148 118,504
May 1,074 109,858
Total 566,763

And that's for only five months.

So as fifties television would have said, "Say, Wally, what do you think the June report will look like?"

Well Beav, it's hard to say for sure, but maybe you can extrapolate from these quite recent announcements:

--Johnson & Johnson announces layoffs at two Bay Area firms

About 500 researchers and other employees are being laid off at Scios in Fremont and Alza in Mountain View, two Bay Area subsidiaries of drug and medical-device giant Johnson & Johnson, the company said Thursday.

--Lego to cut jobs and shift plants

After a number of difficult years, Lego has returned to profit

Toy building-block company Lego plans to shift a large part of its domestic production abroad, cutting its workforce by as many as 1,200 jobs.
The Danish firm plans to outsource production to Flextronics, a manufacturer with plants in the Czech Republic and across Eastern Europe.

Lego also will shut its factory in the US, moving production to Mexico.

[Maybe the canned workers can buy a set of Legos and build their own job?]

--Candy plant to cut jobs

Candymaker Masterfood USA is cutting about 70 jobs at its West Side plant that produces Snickers and Milky Way bars.

The reduction is related to the elimination of two lines at the plant that made seasonal products, such as Easter egg- and pumpkin-shaped Snickers, and the Pop'ables line of ball-shaped chocolate candies, which the company discontinued earlier this year.

--Goodyear to cut jobs, private label business

AKRON, OHIO -- Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the world's largest tiremaker, yesterday said it was axing a third of its private label tire business and cutting manufacturing jobs to improve profits.

The Akron-based company said about 10 brands of tires, manufactured by Goodyear but sold under other names to a small number of wholesale customers, will be eliminated over the next year. Goodyear will keep the remaining two-thirds of its private label business.
Rich said the decision will mean job cuts, but he was not specific.
The tires are produced in Fayetteville, N.C.; Gadsden, Ala.; Tyler, Texas; Union City, Tenn.; and Valleyfield, Que.

--The final nail; Broyhill layoffs the latest signal of furniture industry's decline

...On Friday, Broyhill announced it would shut Pacemaker and lay off almost 700 workers, another reminder that the United States can no longer compete with other countries in certain sectors.
Since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, furniture production in the United States has dropped as it became much cheaper to manufacture elsewhere, experts say.

That's also when Broyhill started closing its plants.
In 1999, Broyhill employed more than 7,000 people. The company's most recent cuts leave about 1,900 workers in the United States, of which 68 percent, or 1,300 workers, are in manufacturing.

Yeah, the June report should be a real picker-upper. If you want to get a pretty sick feeling (assuming that you don't have one right now), run Google news searches for:
"cuts jobs" and:
--school district

But, as the White House web site says (and you know you can trust that): The Economy Remains Strong, And The Outlook Is Favorable