The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employers completed 1,301 mass layoffs in May 2013, causing 127,821 newly laid-off workers to file initial claims for unemployment benefits. Both numbers increased from April.
Monthly mass layoffs increased by 102, while the number of workers who filed initial claims for unemployment benefits increased by 10,972.
Note: This is the last monthly mass layoff report from Employee Rights Blog, because the BLS has discontinued subsequent layoff reports due to sequestration budget cuts.
The private-sector industry in which workers filed the largest number of mass-layoff initial claims was temporary help services (“temp workers”). Next in line was food service contractors followed by child day care services. (None are seasonally adjusted.)
Manufacturing, an industry that analysts consider to be a gauge of labor-market health, accounted for 276 of the monthly mass layoffs and 33,527 of the monthly initial claims filed in May (not seasonally adjusted). The highest initial claims were reported by the food and machinery subsectors. Average weekly initial claims decreased over the year in 11 of manufacturing’s 21 subsectors.
Construction, also a key industry to analysts, accounted for 135 of the mass layoffs and 11,463 of the initial claims for unemployment benefits (not seasonally adjusted). Specialty trade contractors reported the most layoffs and initial claims in May, as the subsector did in April.
Overall, 10 of the 19 major industries in the private sector reported decreases in average weekly initial claims from May 2012 (not seasonally adjusted), with the largest decrease occurring in the retail trade and information industries.
Regionally, the South reported the largest number of monthly initial claims filed in May (not seasonally adjusted). The West reported the second highest followed by the Midwest and Northeast. All but the Northeast reported an increase in monthly initial claims from May 2012, with the South reporting the largest.
Across the states, California once again reported the highest number of monthly initial claims filed due to mass layoffs (not seasonally adjusted). Illinois reported the second highest followed by Pennsylvania and Texas. Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia reported annual decreases in average weekly initial claims from May 2012, with Missouri and New York reporting the largest.
The unemployment rate edged up to 7.6 percent in May, even though the economy gained 175,000 nonfarm jobs. A year ago the unemployment rate was 8.2 percent. The average monthly rate for 2013 so far is 7.66 percent. Last year the average was 8.075 percent.
If you’ve recently lost your job through a layoff or suffered a reduction in your work hours, then you might be eligible for full or partial unemployment benefits through the state unemployment office. If you’ve also lost your employer-provided health insurance coverage, then you might be eligible to continue it through COBRA. To look for a new job, start at the Job Search page.
President Obama signed a law that further extends eligibility for unemployment benefit extensions through 2013. The law does not, however, extend the two-percent payroll (Social Security) tax cut.
For more information from the BLS, see its Mass Layoffs Summary.
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Each layoff reported involved at least 50 workers per employer, regardless of layoff duration. Worker job losses were measured by initial claims for unemployment benefits. However, not all workers who lose their jobs in mass layoffs are eligible for unemployment benefits; subsequently, job losses are often higher than indicated by initial claims alone.
Except where otherwise noted above, mass layoffs and initial unemployment claims were measured on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Seasonal adjustment gives a clearer picture by removing estimated data from seasonal events that affect employment and unemployment numbers; examples are changes in the weather, holidays, and the start or end of the school year. Numbers associated with mass layoffs are subject to revision by the BLS.
The mass layoffs chart pictured above was provided by the BLS.