The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that 1,293 mass layoff events occurred in February 2012. The layoffs affected 119,463 employees nationwide. The number of February events was a decrease of 141 over January and equated to an associated decrease in initial unemployment claims which were down by 10,457 under January’s number. Each mass layoff event affected at least 50 employees at a single employer. The national unemployment rate remained at a stead 8.3 percent while nonfarm payroll increased by 227,000 for the month and 2,021,000 over the prior 12-month period.
Average weekly mass layoffs decreased over the year by 32 per week, dropping to 224 in February. Average weekly initial claims associated with the mass layoff events decreased over the year by 2,902 to reach a total of 18,494. Of the 19 major private industry sectors 12 reported decreases in average weekly initial unemployment claims, of which the largest decreases were found in the information sector. The industries with the most number of nonfarm initial claims for February were temporary help services (6,381 initial claims), supermarkets and other grocery stores (2,685 initial claims), school and employee bus transportation (2,507 initial claims), department stores, except discount (2,445 initial claims), and food service contractors (2,434 initial claims).
The manufacturing sector suffered the largest percent of mass layoffs in February, accounting for 23 percent of events and 23 percent of total initial unemployment benefits claims. Most mass layoff events occurring in the manufacturing sector took place in the transportation equipment and food. Regionally, the largest number of initial claims occurred in the West over the month, while three of four geographical regions reported an annual decrease in average weekly initial claims. The West experienced the largest decline in claims, over the year.