Mass layoff actions reach peak again in May 2009

June 24, 2009

Employers took 2,933 mass layoff actions in May that resulted in the separation of 312,880 workers, seasonally adjusted, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month. The number of mass layoff events matched the peak level from March 2009, with data available back to 1995.

Mass layoff events, seasonally adjusted, January 2001-May 2009
[Chart data—TXT]

From May 2008 to May 2009, the number of mass layoff events increased by 1,232 and associated initial claims increased by 132,322.

In May 2009, 1,331 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 165,802 initial claims. Over the year, manufacturing events and initial claims more than doubled.

During the 18 months from December 2007 through May 2009, the total number of mass layoff events was 37,059, and the number of initial claims was 3,811,307. (December 2007 was the start of a recession as designated by the National Bureau of Economic Research.)

These data are from the Mass Layoff Statistics program and are seasonally adjusted. Each mass layoff action involved at least 50 persons from a single employer. To learn more, see "Mass Layoffs in May 2009" (HTML) (PDF), news release USDL 09-0703.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Mass layoff actions reach peak again in May 2009 on the Internet at (visited October 01, 2016).


Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.