The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that private-sector nonfarm employers conducted 914 mass layoffs in the first quarter (January-March) of 2013, causing 154,374 workers to lose their jobs for at least 31 days. Both numbers fell to their lowest first quarter levels on record since 1996.
Additionally, extended mass layoff events were down by 380 while related job losses were down by 92,582 from the first quarter (Q1) of 2012. In Q1 2013, contract completions accounted for 39 percent of extended mass layoffs and 42 percent of related job losses.
Note: This is the last quarterly mass layoff report from Employee Rights Blog, as the BLS has announced that it will be discontinuing its layoff reports due to budget cuts required by sequestration.
Forty-nine percent of the employers reporting mass layoffs in Q1 anticipated recalling at least some of the workers they laid off. Of those employers, 18 percent said that they’d recall all workers and 57 percent said that they’d recall at least half. Fifty-six percent said that they intended to recall some to all workers within six months.
Manufacturing, an industry that analysts consider to be a gauge of labor-market health, reported 184 mass layoffs and 30,870 worker job losses in Q1. Both layoffs and job losses were at their lowest quarterly levels since the BLS started tracking them in 1995. Layoffs were mostly due to insufficient demand and completion of seasonal work.
Construction, another key industry to analysts, reported 178 mass layoffs and 20,071 worker job losses. Layoffs were largely due to contract completion.
Among the major work groups tracked by the BLS for filing initial claims for unemployment benefits, 14 percent were black, 21 percent were Hispanic, 37 percent were women and 20 percent were 55 years of age or older.
Among the four main geographic regions, the West reported the highest number of mass layoff events in Q1 2013. Next in line was the Midwest followed by the Northeast and South. All four regions reported fewer mass layoff events than they did a year ago.
In the states, California reported the most mass layoff events in Q1 2013, followed by New York, Illinois and Ohio.
The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana area reported the largest number of initial claimants for unemployment benefits due to mass layoffs, among 372 metropolitan areas tracked by the BLS.
The national unemployment rate averaged 7.73 percent in Q1 2013, down from an 8.27 average in Q1 the year before.
If you’re a recent victim of a layoff or a reduction in work hours, then you might be eligible for unemployment benefits through the state unemployment office. You might also be eligible to continue your employer-provided group health insurance benefits through COBRA. To look for a new job, start at the Job Search page.
President Obama signed a new law that further extends unemployment benefit extensions through 2013. The law does not extend the 2011 payroll (Social Security) tax cut through 2013.
For more details about Q1 2013 mass layoffs and related worker job losses (separations), read the “Mass Layoffs Summary” from the BLS.
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Quarterly mass layoff numbers do not amount to the total of monthly mass layoff numbers reported by the BLS for the same quarter. That’s because the BLS counts only layoffs of 31 days or more in its quarterly report, but it counts layoffs of any duration in its monthly report. Numbers associated with mass layoffs are preliminary and subject to revision by the BLS, based on data that was not initially available. The mass layoffs chart pictured above was provided by the BLS.