WASHINGTON (June 20, 2012) — Employers took 1,380 mass layoff actions in May involving 130,191 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 May decreased by 8 from April, and the number of associated initial claims decreased by 5,409. Year-to-date mass layoff events (6,768) and initial claims (636,484) both recorded their lowest figures since 2007. In May, 264 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 29,675 initial claims.
The national unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in May, essentially unchanged from the prior month but down from 9.0 percent a year earlier. Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 69,000 over the month and by 1,782,000 over the year.
Industry distribution (not seasonally adjusted)
The number of mass layoff events in May was 1,201, not seasonally adjusted, resulting in 109,259 initial claims for unemployment insurance. Over the year, the number of average weekly mass layoff events decreased by 42 to 300, while associated average weekly initial claims decreased by 2,663 to 27,315. Thirteen 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. In May 2012, the six-digit industry with the largest number of private non-farm initial claims was food service contractors.
In May 2012, the manufacturing sector accounted for 17 percent of mass layoff events and 19 percent of associated initial claims in the private economy. Within manufacturing, the numbers of mass layoff claimants were highest in food and in transportation equipment. Sixteen of the 21 manufacturing subsectors experienced over-the-year decreases in average weekly initial claims, with the largest decrease occurring in food manufacturing.
Geographic distribution (not seasonally adjusted)
Among the census regions, the south registered the largest number of initial claims in May. Two of the 4 regions experienced over-the-year decreases in average weekly initial claims, with the largest decrease occurring in the south.
Among the states, California recorded the highest number of mass layoff initial claims in May, followed by Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York and Texas. Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia experienced over-the-year decreases in average weekly initial claims, led by Alabama, Mississippi, Ohio and Florida.