Business Functions and Processes in Extended Mass Layoffs in the Second Quarter 2012

Employers initiated 1,476 extended mass layoff events in the second quarter of 2012 that resulted in the separation of 262,848 workers from their jobs for at least 31 days, according to preliminary figures released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Extended mass layoff events related to nonseasonal economic reasons totaled 820 and involved the separation of 130,028 workers. More complete information on second quarter 2012 extended mass layoffs can be obtained from the news release (

The total number of business functions reported by employers in nonseasonal layoff events in the second quarter was 1,651, a decrease from 1,848 business functions a year earlier. This decrease of 11 percent was smaller than the 21 percent over-the-year decrease in nonseasonal extended mass layoff events, meaning more functions on average were involved in each extended mass layoff event than a year ago.

Construction activities, producing goods, and contracted services were cited most often by employers as the main business function—that which involves the most laid-off workers—involved in second quarter nonseasonal extended mass layoffs. Secondary functions most often reported by employers for layoff were customer service, general management, first-line supervision, and administrative and clerical support. (See table 1.)

Business processes affected by all extended mass layoffs during the second quarter numbered 1,982, down from 2,285 a year earlier. Over the year, the number of reports decreased in all core processes and in 2 of the 3 support processes. In the second quarter of 2012, the largest number of processes per event occurred in layoffs due to organizational reasons and financial issues. (See table 2.)

The most common process affected by nonseasonal extended mass layoffs in the second quarter of 2012 was operations—the process most directly related to the key activity of the establishment. Total core and support processes involved in nonseasonal extended mass layoffs decreased over the year in both goods-producing and service-providing industries. (See table 3.)