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News Release Information

Thursday, March 07, 2013

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Mass Layoffs in Texas – 2012 Annual Totals

Employers in Texas took 627 mass layoff actions in 2012 that resulted in the separation of 69,068 workers, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. (See chart 1.)  Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single employer. Regional Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman noted that the number of claims in 2012 rose slightly from the 2011 level of 68,500, but remained well below the recent recession’s peak level of 108,452 recorded in 2009.

Industry distribution

Of all the industry sectors in Texas, construction experienced the most mass layoff events in 2012 with 141. (See table 1.) This sector also had the largest number of initial claimants at 13,519, or 19.6 percent of the state’s total. Although both the number of mass layoff events and claimants in the construction sector declined in 2012, the number of claimants was still the fifth-highest in the series which extends back to 1996. Administrative and waste services ranked second in the number of mass layoff events and third in unemployment insurance claims in 2012, at 115 and 9,972, respectively. The manufacturing sector was third in layoff events at 79, but second in number of initial claimants with 11,710 in 2012. Together, these three industry sectors accounted for slightly more than 50 percent of all initial claims in the state. (See chart 1.) Three other sectors experienced mass layoff-related initial claims totaling 5,000 or more in 2012: retail trade (6,112), professional and technical services (5,684), and accommodation and food services (5,044).

Manufacturing saw the largest increase in mass layoff initial claimants, rising 2,264 in 2012. Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction followed with an increase of 1,092 initial claims; this sector posted a series low of 337 claims in 2011. On a percentage basis, mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction experienced the largest increase in claims, up 324.0 percent in 2012, after experiencing the largest percentage decrease among all sectors in 2011 (-66.2 percent). Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction was followed by other services, up 73.2 percent, and wholesale trade, up 54.6 percent. The educational services sector was the only industry to register a series high in initial claimants in 2012 (665).

Although total initial claimants in Texas rose, nearly as many industry sectors registered declines as increases in 2012. The largest decline in initial claims occurred in the local government sector where claims fell 2,017 (-62.8 percent); this sector recorded a series high in 2011 at 3,210. The construction sector experienced the second-largest decline in initial claims, falling by 1,624 in 2012, but movements differed in the construction sub-components. Declines in initial claims were recorded in heavy and civil engineering construction (-1,228) and specialty trade contractors (-581), as both industries came off series highs in 2011, but claims rose in the construction of buildings subsector (185).

Among the states, California recorded the largest number of initial claims during 2012 at 327,275. New York (141,137) ranked second, followed by Pennsylvania (106,303) and New Jersey (85,979). Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia experienced over-the-year declines in total initial claims, while 14 states registered increases. California (-50,138) registered the largest decline in initial claims, while five states registered declines ranging from 20,000 to 10,000; decreases in the remaining states were less than 10,000. New York experienced the largest increase (21,739) followed by North Carolina (19,537) and New Jersey (19,168).

Technical Note

The Mass Layoff Statistics (MLS) program is a federal-state program that uses a standardized automated approach to identifying, describing, and tracking the effects of major job cutbacks, using data from each state's unemployment insurance database. Each month, states report on employers which have at least 50 initial claims filed against them during a consecutive 5-week period. These employers then are contacted by the state agency to determine whether these separations lasted 31 days or longer, and, if so, other information concerning the layoff is collected. States report on layoffs lasting more than 1 month on a quarterly basis.

A given month contains an aggregation of the weekly unemployment insurance claims filings for the Sunday through Saturday weeks in that month. All weeks are included for the particular month, except if the first day of the month falls on Saturday. In this case, the week is included in the prior month's tabulations. This means that some months will contain 4 weeks and others, 5 weeks. The number of weeks in a given month may be different from year to year, and the number of weeks in a year may vary. Therefore, analysis of over-the-month and over-the-year change in the not seasonally adjusted series should take this calendar effect into consideration.

The MLS program resumed operations in April 1995 after it had been terminated in November 1992 due to lack of funding. Prior to April 1995, monthly layoff statistics were not available.

Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service: (800) 877-8339.

Employer. Employers in the MLS program include those covered by state unemployment insurance laws. Information on employers is obtained from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program, which is administered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Industry. Employers are classified according to the 2007 version of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). For temporary help and professional employer organization industries, monthly MLS-related statistics generally reflect layoffs related to underlying client companies in other industries. An individual layoff action at a client company can be small, but when initial claimants associated with many such layoffs are assigned to a temporary help or professional employer organization firm, a mass layoff event may trigger.

Initial claimant. A person who files any notice of unemployment to initiate a request either for a determination of entitlement to and eligibility for compensation, or for a subsequent period of unemployment within a benefit year or period of eligibility.

Mass layoff event. Fifty or more initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits filed against an employer during a 5-week period, regardless of duration.

Table 1. Mass layoff events and initial claimants for unemployment insurance, selected industries, Texas, annual totals
IndustryMass layoff eventsInitial claims for unemployment insurance

Total, all industries (1)


  Total private


    Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting


      Agriculture and forestry support activities


  Total private nonfarm


    Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction


      Support activities for mining




      Construction of buildings


      Heavy and civil engineering construction


      Specialty trade contractors






      Textile mills


      Apparel (2)


      Wood products


      Nonmetallic mineral products


      Primary metals


      Fabricated metal products


      Machinery (2)


      Computer and electronic products


      Transportation equipment (2)


    Wholesale trade


      Merchant wholesalers, durable goods


      Merchant wholesalers, nondurable goods


    Retail trade


      Furniture and home furnishings stores


      Electronics and appliance stores


      Building material and garden supply stores


      Food and beverage stores


      Health and personal care stores


      General merchandise stores


    Transportation and warehousing


      Air transportation


      Truck transportation


      Transit and ground passenger transportation


      Support activities for transportation




      Publishing industries except Internet




      Data processing hosting and related services


    Finance and insurance (2)


      Credit intermediation and related activities


      Insurance carriers and related activities


    Real estate and rental and leasing (2)


      Rental and leasing services


    Professional and technical services (2)


    Management of companies and enterprises


    Administrative and waste services (2)


      Administrative and support services (2)


    Educational services


    Health care and social assistance


      Ambulatory health care services




      Social assistance


    Arts entertainment and recreation


    Accommodation and food services


      Food services and drinking places


    Other services except public administration


      Membership associations and organizations










(1) Total includes all industries including those not listed in the table.
(2) Data beginning in 2008 are not strictly comparable to prior years due to a change in NAICS versions.
(3) Data do not meet BLS or state agency disclosure standards.

Note: Dash represents zero.


Last Modified Date: Thursday, March 07, 2013