The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 1,331 mass layoffs affecting 129,887 workers in November 2011. A mass layoff is defined as a layoff event involving at least 50 workers from an individual employer. These statistics represent a decrease in mass layoff events over October (-22) and an increase in initial unemployment claims (+11,198). The United States unemployment rate fell from 9.0 percent in October to 8.6 percent in November; a rate 1.2 percent less than November 2010.
The average number of weekly mass layoffs has decreased to 348 over the past 12 months, leading to an overall decrease in average weekly initial unemployment claims, falling from 39,512 to 31,938 since November 2010. This represents decreases in initial claims in 13 of 19 major private industrial sectors, lead by the information, construction, and administrative and waste services industries. Despite seeing decreases in average weekly initial claims within 15 of its 21 subsectors, the manufacturing sector composed 25 percent of mass layoff events and accounted for 30 percent of initial unemployment claims in November.
The bulk of initial unemployment claims in November were found in the Midwest, with Wisconsin falling behind only California in number of mass layoffs for the month. Of the four geographic regions, only the Northeast saw a rise in mass layoff events and initial unemployment claims over last November, with the West recording the greatest decline in both areas. Average weekly initial unemployment claims declined in 33 states plus DC, with California and North Carolina experiencing the greatest drops.