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In January, 1,434 mass layoff actions affected 129,920 workers



Employers took 1,434 mass layoff actions in January involving 129,920
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. Mass layoff events in January increased by 50 from December,
while the number of associated initial claims decreased by 15,728. In
January, 341 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector,
seasonally adjusted, resulting in 33,597 initial claims. (See table 1.)

The national unemployment rate was 8.3 percent in January, down from 8.5
percent the prior month and from 9.1 percent a year earlier. Total nonfarm
payroll employment increased by 243,000 over the month and by 1,953,000
over the year.

Industry Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

The number of mass layoff events in January was 1,705, not seasonally
adjusted, resulting in 141,703 initial claims for unemployment insurance.
(See table 2.) Over the year, the number of average weekly mass layoff
events decreased by 86 to 426, and associated average weekly initial claims
decreased by 13,867 to 35,426. Sixteen of the 19 major industry sectors in
the private economy reported over-the-year decreases in average weekly
initial claims, with the largest decrease occurring in manufacturing. (See
table 3.) The six-digit industry with the largest number of private nonfarm
initial claims in January 2012 was temporary help services. (See table A.)

  |                                                                        |
  |                   Changes to Mass Layoff Data                          |
  |                                                                        |
  | Effective with this release, the Mass Layoff Statistics program        |
  | updated the basis for industry classification from the 2007 North      |
  | American Industry Classification System (NAICS) to the 2012 NAICS. The |
  | new conversion reflects definitional changes within the utilities,     |
  | construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, and retail trade         |
  | sectors. Several industry titles and descriptions were also updated.   |
  | For more information on the 2012 NAICS update, visit                   |
  | www.census.gov/epcd/www/naics.html. For more information on the        |
  | implementation of NAICS 2012 in the Mass Layoff Statistics program,    |
  | visit www.bls.gov/mls/mls2012naics.htm                                 |
  |                                                                        |

In January the manufacturing sector accounted for 25 percent of mass layoff
events and 28 percent of associated initial claims in the private economy.
A year earlier, manufacturing made up 28 percent of events and 32 percent
of initial claims. Within manufacturing, the numbers of mass layoff claimants 
in January 2012 were greatest in transportation equipment and food. Fifteen 
of the 21 manufacturing subsectors experienced over-the-year decreases in 
average weekly initial claims, with the largest decrease occurring in 
transportation equipment. Five subsectors recorded January series’ lows in 
terms of average weekly initial claims--beverage and tobacco products, textile 
product mills, wood products, fabricated metal products, and transportation 
equipment. (See table 3.) 

Table A. Six-digit NAICS industries with the largest number of mass layoff initial claims
in January 2012, private nonfarm, not seasonally adjusted

                 Industry                                                  January peak
                                                     Initial Claims     Year  Initial claims
Temporary help services (1) ...............              13,692         1998      26,224
School and employee bus transportation ....               8,165         2010      15,131
Discount department stores ................               4,225         2010       8,065
Professional employer organizations (1) ...               3,157         2009      11,345
Highway, street, and bridge construction ..               2,889         2000       9,680
Hotels and motels, except casino hotels ...               2,537         2009       6,592
Supermarkets and other grocery stores .....               2,515         2009       3,978
Department stores, except discount ........               2,212         1998       5,600
Full-service restaurants ..................               1,905         2009       2,658
Motion picture and video production .......               1,649         1998      12,038
   1  See the Technical Note for more information on these industries.

Geographic Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

Among the census regions, the South registered the greatest number of initial 
claims in January. All four regions experienced over-the-year decreases in 
average weekly initial claims, with the largest decline occurring in the 
Midwest. (See table 4.)

Among the states, California recorded the highest number of mass layoff
initial claims in January, followed by New York, Pennsylvania, and North
Carolina. Forty-one states and the District of Columbia experienced over-
the-year declines in average weekly initial claims, led by California,
Pennsylvania, and Michigan. (See table 4.)


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. The monthly data series in this release are subjected
to average weekly analysis, which mitigates the effect of differing lengths
of months. See the Technical Note for more detailed definitions and for a
description of average weekly analysis.

The Mass Layoffs news release for February 2012 is scheduled to be released
on Friday, March 23, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT).

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