The third quarter of 2011 saw the lowest extended mass layoff event levels since 2007 with eight consecutive quarters of declining layoff events and job separations. The decrease was seen in 13 private, nonfarm sectors with the sharpest declines found in the transportation and warehousing sector and the accommodation and food services sector. An employer is defined as experience an extended mass layoff event if at least 50 of its laid-off workers are unemployed for at least 31 days and file unemployment insurance claims during a period of five consecutive weeks.
All told, the industrial labor force, consisting of the top 15 private, nonfarm industries, experienced 1226 layoff events corresponding to nearly 184,000 job separations. These numbers represent a year-over-year decrease, down from 1,370 layoff events and over 222,000 job separations from third quarter 2010. The hardest hit industries, by far, have been manufacturing, administrative and waste services, and construction, suffering over half of all recorded layoff events.
Cumulative job separations for these three industries alone account for over 91,000 of the third quarter layoffs. The primary cause of widespread layoffs in the administrative and waste services sector is known to be the completion of service contracts. Manufacturing firms in eight subsectors showed a decrease in layoff events year-over-year. The industry least affected by layoffs is real estate and rental and leasing, experiencing six layoff events separating a total of 686 jobs.