Employers took 1,201 mass layoff actions in December, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday.
Mass layoffs involve at least 50 employees from a single establishment.Both the number of events and the number of initial claims in manufacturing were lower in December than a month earlier - but the manufacturing sector accounted for 33 percent of all mass layoff events and 41 percent of all related initial claims filed in December, an increase from the previous time frame in 2005. Transportation equipment produced the highest number of claims at 38,311, mostly in vehicle manufacturing.
Among the four census regions, the highest number of initial claims in December due to mass layoffs was in the Midwest, totaling 109,495. Transportation equipment manufacturing and heavy and civil engineering construction together accounted for 34 percent of all mass layoff initial claims in that region during the month.
During 2006, 13,998 mass layoff events occurred in the nation, resulting in 1,484,391 initial claims filings for unemployment insurance. In 2005, there were 16,466 events and 1,795,341 initial claimants. The total number of initial claims for 2006 was the lowest reported for any January-December period since 1996.
The 10 industries with the highest number of mass layoff initial claims for all of 2006 accounted for 31 percent of the total in 2006. Temporary help services and school and employee bus transportation ranked first and second among these 10 industries in both 2006 and 2005. Heavy duty truck manufacturing and discount department stores entered the top 10 industries in terms of initial claims. These industries replaced motor vehicle seating and trim manufacturing and elementary and secondary schools.
Manufacturing accounted for 31 percent of all mass layoff events and 39 percent of initial claims filed during 2006, an increase from 2005. Initial claim filings were most numerous in transportation equipment at 221,383, followed by food manufacturing at 62,927 and machinery manufacturing at 40,069.
The largest declines in initial claims in 2006 occurred in transportation equipment manufacturing and food manufacturing. The largest over-the-year increase in initial claims occurred in machinery manufacturing.
Layoffs in transportation equipment manufacturing accounted for 31 percent of the claims in the Midwest in 2006. Administrative and support services, machinery manufacturing, and heavy and civil engineering construction accounted for an additional 16 percent of layoffs in that region in 2006.