Related BLS programs | Related articles
August 2005, Vol. 128, No.8
Mass layoff data indicate outsourcing and offshoring work
Sharon P. Brown and Lewis B. Siegel
Mass layoff statistics provide
important and detailed information on a subset
of establishments experiencing major job cutbacks and of workers experiencing layoffs and dislocation. In cooperation with State agencies, the Bureau of Labor Statistics Mass Layoff Statistics (MLS) program identifies establishments that employ 50 or more workers and have at least 50 initial claims for unemployment insurance. State analysts conduct interviews with employers of those establishments to identify mass layoff events that last more than 30 days and to augment the administrative data with information on the nature of the layoff itself, including the reason for separation.
The MLS program provides aggregate data nationally and by State and selected areas. The statistics are among the most timely economic measures issued by BLS. Monthly data on mass layoff events and laid-off workers (without regard to duration of the layoff) by State and industry of the establishment are issued about 3 weeks after the end of the reference month. Data on extended mass layoffs (those lasting more than 30 days) are issued about 7 weeks after the end of the reference quarter. In addition to providing timely labor market information, the MLS data are used to identify the need for employment and training services to workers and to indicate available labor supply.
BLS has operated the MLS program since 1995. During this period, the program has been able to examine the effects of current economic events in a timely manner through the employer interview. For example, after the terrorist events of 9/11, the MLS program added "nonnatural disaster" as a reason for separation, allowing analysts to identify and track job loss directly and indirectly associated with 9/11. Another example is the increased use of offshoring and outsourcing of work. The MLS program, particularly the employer interview component, was determined to be an appropriate vehicle for collecting information on this economic phenomenon. After an intensive development period, questions were added to the MLS employer interview in January 2004 that identify job loss associated with movement of work from within a company to another company, and from the United States to another country. Beginning in June 2004, the results of these questions have been published.
This excerpt is from an article published in the August 2005 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
Read abstract Download full article in PDF (68K)
Mass Layoff Statistics
Related Monthly Labor Review articles
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers