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MASS LAYOFFS IN MAY 2009
Employers took 2,933 mass layoff actions in May that resulted in the
separation of 312,880 workers, 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 employer. The number
of mass layoff events in May increased by 221 from the prior month, and
the number of associated initial claims increased by 41,654. Over the
year, the number of mass layoff events increased by 1,232 and associated
initial claims increased by 132,322. Initial claims rose to its highest
level on record, while events matched the peak level from March 2009,
with data available back to 1995. In May, 1,331 mass layoff events were
reported in the manufacturing sector, seasonally adjusted, resulting in
165,802 initial claims. Over the year, manufacturing events and initial
claims more than doubled. (See table 1.)
During the 18 months from December 2007 through May 2009, the total
number of mass layoff events (seasonally adjusted) was 37,059, and the
number of initial claims (seasonally adjusted) was 3,811,307. (December
2007 was the start of a recession as designated by the National Bureau
of Economic Research.)
The national unemployment rate was 9.4 percent in May 2009, seasonally
adjusted, up from 8.9 percent the prior month and from 5.5 percent a year
earlier. In May, total nonfarm payroll employment decreased by 345,000
over the month and by 5,366,000 from a year earlier.