Mass Layoffs Down But Still High

A preliminary report from the U.S. Department of Labor shows employers issued 1,564 mass layoff notices in the first quarter which resulted in 221,150 workers losing their jobs.

That’s compared to the quarter prior, where there were 2,419 mass layoffs affecting 406,815 workers. And the first quarter of 2009, when there were 3,979 mass layoffs affecting 705,141 workers – the highest since the bureau began tracking the information in 1995.

Manufacturing accounted for 24 percent of private non-farm extended layoff events and 23 percent of related separations in the first quarter of 2010, the lowest for any first quarter. That’s compared to a year earlier when the sector made up 40 percent of events and 39 percent of separations.

A mass layoff is defined as when 50 or more people file for unemployment insurance benefits against a single employer during a five-week period. This does not include workers who lost their jobs due to a plant closing.