Bureau of Labor Statistics Reports Mass Layoffs in August 2006

In August 2006, employers took 1,193 mass layoff actions, 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 has reported.

Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single establishment, and the number of workers involved totaled 127,944, on a seasonally adjusted basis. The number of layoff events increased by 68, and the number of associated initial claims rose by 13,049 from July 2006. In the manufacturing sector, 357 mass layoff events were reported during August 2006, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 59,256 initial claims. The number of events in manufacturing was lower than a month earlier, while the number of initial claims increased. (See table 1.)

In August 2006, the national unemployment rate was 4.7 percent, season- ally adjusted, essentially unchanged from July 2006 and down from 4.9 per- cent in August 2005. Total nonfarm payroll employment, seasonally adjust- ed, increased by 128,000 over the month and by about 1.7 million over the year.

Industry Distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted)

The manufacturing sector accounted for 29 percent of all mass layoff events and 39 percent of all initial claims filed in August. A year earlier, manufacturing comprised 29 percent of events and 33 percent of ini- tial claims. In August 2006, the number of manufacturing claimants was highest in transportation equipment manufacturing (12,428, mostly automo- tive-related), followed by wood product manufacturing (2,240) and machinery manufacturing (2,210).

Table A. Industries with the largest mass layoff initial claims in August 2006

Industry
Initial claims
August Peak
Year
Initial claims
Temporary help services
7,109
1999
11,533
Heavy duty truck manufacturing
4,896
2006
4,896
School and employee bus transportation
4,268
2003
6,538
Motion picture and video production
3,327
2003
6,812
Professional employer organizations
2,155
2002
2,855
Department stores, except discount
1,330
1996
2,151
Discount department stores
981
2002
2,271
Supermarkets and other grocery stores
944
2001
2,357
Motor home manufacturing
848
2006
848
Farm machinery and equipment manufacturing
831
2003
1,661

Government establishments accounted for 5 percent of events and 3 percent of initial claims filed in August, mostly from executive, legislative, and general government and educational services.

On a not seasonally adjusted basis, the number of layoff events in August 2006, at 708, was up by 63 from a year earlier, and the number of associated initial claims increased by 5,262 to 72,844. The largest over-the-year increases in initial claims were reported in transportation equipment manufacturing (+5,573) and administrative and support services (+4,150). The largest over-the-year decreases in initial claims were reported in motion picture and sound recording industries (-2,959) and food manufacturing (-1,203).

From January through August 2006, the total number of events, at 8,605, and the total number of initial claims, at 907,199, were lower than any January-August period in program history. The availability of annual mass layoff data begins in 1996.


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