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In March, 1,337 mass layoff actions affected 127,939 workers, BLS reports

Employers took 1,337 mass layoff actions in March involving 127,939 workers as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported April 23. (Data are seasonally adjusted.) Each mass layoff involved at least 50 workers from a single employer. Mass layoff events decreased by 85 from February, and the number of associated initial claims decreased by 7,529. In March, 311 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector resulting in 36,696 initial claims. Monthly mass layoff data are identified using administrative data sources without regard to layoff duration.

The national unemployment rate was 7.6 percent in March, essentially unchanged from the prior month and down from 8.2 percent a year earlier. Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 88,000 over the month and by 1,910,000 over the year.

Industry distribution (not seasonally adjusted). The number of mass layoff events in March was 1,132, not seasonally adjusted, resulting in 114,897 initial claims for unemployment insurance. Over the year, the number of average weekly mass layoff events for March increased by 1 to 226, while associated average weekly initial claims decreased by 584 to 22,979.

Ten of the 19 major industry sectors in the private economy reported over-the-year decreases in average weekly initial claims, with the largest decrease occurring in information. The six-digit industry with the largest number of private nonfarm initial claims due to mass layoffs in March was school and employee bus transportation.

In March, the manufacturing sector accounted for 24 percent of mass layoff events and 26 percent of associated initial claims in the private economy. Within manufacturing, the numbers of mass layoff claimants were highest in transportation equipment and in food. Nine of the 21 manufacturing subsectors experienced over-the-year decreases in average weekly initial claims.

Geographic distribution (not seasonally adjusted). Among the census regions, the South had the largest number of initial claims due to mass layoffs in March, followed closely by the West. Only the West experienced an over-the-year decrease in average weekly initial claims.

Among the states, California had the highest number of mass layoff initial claims in March, followed by Pennsylvania, Texas, Illinois, and New York. Twenty-four states experienced over-the-year decreases in average weekly initial claims, led by California, North Carolina, and Oregon.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor; www.bls.gov.