Great news: Mass layoffs making a comeback

posted at 10:05 am on July 22, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

In 2009, we tracked a previously-obscure jobs statistic: mass layoffs.  Those peaked in the autumn months following the Porkulus bill’s passage and then began to subside as the job destruction cycle slowed.  Since then, we have mainly looked at the job creation numbers, which have remained in positive but anemic territory on a month-to-month basis.

Now, though, it looks like the mass-layoff statistic may be coming back (via Instapundit):

Putting pressure on an already lousy job market, the mass layoff is making a comeback. In the past week, Cisco, Lockheed Martin and Borders announced a combined 23,000 in job cuts. (See:Another Retailer Bites the Dust: Borders Doomed by Amazon Deal, Davidowitz Says)

Those announcements follow 41,432 in planned cuts in June, up 11.6% from May and 5.3% vs. a year earlier, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Meanwhile, state and local governments have cut 142,000 jobs this year, The WSJ reports, and Wall Street is braced for another round of cutbacks. This week, Goldman Sachs announced plans to let go 1000 fixed-income traders.

If these trends continue, we may soon be talking about losses in the monthly employment data — not just disappointing growth, says Howard Davidowitz, CEO of Davidowitz & Associates[.]

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has kept the mass-layoff series in place, of course, which gets reported around mid-month.  June figures are due soon, but May saw a slight uptick in events, although a slight decrease in the number of resulting claims:

Employers took 1,599 mass layoff actions in May involving 143,540 workers, seasonally adjusted, as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Each mass layoff involved at least 50 workers from a single employer. The number of mass layoff events in May increased by 35, or 2 percent, from April, while the number of associated initial claims decreased by 387, or less than 1 percent. In May, 373 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 38,673 initial claims; both figures increased over the month.

This note on manufacturing doesn’t look like a sign of good things to come:

The manufacturing sector accounted for 20 percent of all mass layoff events and 21 percent of initial claims filed in May. A year earlier, manufacturing made up 16 percent of events and initial claims. Within this sector, the number of claimants in May 2011 was greatest in the food and transportation equipment subsectors. Twelve of the 21 manufacturing subsectors experienced over-the-year increases in initial claims, with the largest increases occurring in food and in transportation equipment.

The BLS lists the ten industries most impacted by mass layoffs in May, which is an interesting table. Four of those industries (food service contractors, full-service restaurants, commercial plumbing/HVAC contractors, and casino hotels) had their peak in mass-layoff events in 2009, which is predictable.  But four others (day care, colleges/universities, junior colleges, and “other individual and family services”) have had their peak in mass-layoff events in 2010 or 2011.

In looking at the historical table, which only goes back as far as mid-2007, the levels have begun rising again.  In March of this year, mass layoff events slowed to 1,286, the lowest figure since October 2007, just before the recession started.  In two months, the level bounced upward 24.3%, back to a level more consistent with 2010′s mass-layoff levels.  The number of claimants from these events jumped by 21.1%.

So the problem we face at the moment is not just a lack of job creation.  We are beginning to see job destruction again, as demand falls and consumer confidence plummets.  Businesses react to this in rational ways, which is to shed excess labor and curtail expansion.  Don’t be surprised to see low job-addition numbers over the next few months — or possibly negative numbers — unless you work for Reuters.

Update: The June numbers have replaced the May numbers today after I posted this.  June events totaled 1,532, which is a drop of 4% from May but still a 19.1% increase over February.  The number of claims from these events barely budged, still up 21% over February — and of course, these are all new layoffs.

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Was Government Electric (GE) one of the great contributors to mass layoffs? I saw that they posted a profit, so I figured Immelt would just continue as he has in the past…

beatcanvas on July 22, 2011 at 10:08 AM

Rebekah, is that you?

Fuquay Steve on July 22, 2011 at 10:09 AM

But Obama is happy….more people on the government dole! All part of the plan!

search4truth on July 22, 2011 at 10:09 AM

BOR the Buffoon was on Fox News this morning flogging his plan for the budget, increasing revenue by eliminating what he calls loopholes, and a 1% sales tax.

Someone get to this moron please. An hour a day is already too much of him. That’s all we need is an excuse for the IRS to hire a few more thousand thugs. Then 1% becomes 2%…

slickwillie2001 on July 22, 2011 at 10:14 AM

And there’s a possibility he’ll be re-elected? Un-effing-believable!

cartooner on July 22, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Meanwhile, state and local governments have cut 142,000 jobs this year, The WSJ reports, and Wall Street is braced for another round of cutbacks. This week, Goldman Sachs announced plans to let go 1000 fixed-income traders.

Gee…I wonder if this has anything to do with the stimulus spending ending.

BobMbx on July 22, 2011 at 10:15 AM

She’s baaaack.

AH_C on July 22, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Ahem: The recession ended in 2009. Don’t you silly chattering class rubes know that? Sheesh.

/

Key West Reader on July 22, 2011 at 10:16 AM

This may be getting to the point that even if the economy starts to improve, it wont be enough to save him. But I honestly don’t think he wants to. I am convinced he is following a Cloward/Piven path to destroy our free market system and replace it with a Marxist model.

csdeven on July 22, 2011 at 10:17 AM

In related news 14 New England firms got busted for hiring illegals.

“Unexpected”

Not

Everyone from my mechanic to Las Vegas CEOs understands that unemployment will grow increasingly worse until Failbama is out of office.

They understand that he and his clown posse are destroying our economy and he’s very satisfied with his handiwork.

dogsoldier on July 22, 2011 at 10:19 AM

I can understand, if you work for the government, you’d have a hard time relating to this problem.

RBMN on July 22, 2011 at 10:20 AM

And remember, Jay Carney himself just said yesterday that the economy has VASTLY improved since Obama took office.

pilamaye on July 22, 2011 at 10:20 AM

More people will be lining up for unemployment benefits and, with escalating food and fuel prices they will be forced to apply for food stamps.

I see people everyday using food stamps who would never have thought they would have to ask for anything. It’s humiliating, but what can they do?

This administration has made such a mess of this country that it’s astonishing. To continue to ignore sound advice and do what has worked in the past to rejuvenate the economy must be intentional. There is no other explanation.

Cody1991 on July 22, 2011 at 10:20 AM

An auto-play ad video on the front page? Really?

bbhack on July 22, 2011 at 10:22 AM

“Thank you President Obama”

-you know who

Bishop on July 22, 2011 at 10:22 AM

One of my closest colleagues just had to apply for food stamps. Unbelievable and very sad indeed. She was an insurance professional. There are NO JOBS, Obama you failure!

Key West Reader on July 22, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Ahem: The recession ended in 2009. Don’t you silly chattering class rubes know that? Sheesh.

/

Key West Reader on July 22, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Yup, the nerve of these yahoos!

katy the mean old lady on July 22, 2011 at 10:25 AM

BOR the Buffoon was on Fox News this morning flogging his plan for the budget, increasing revenue by eliminating what he calls loopholes, and a 1% sales tax.

Someone get to this moron please. An hour a day is already too much of him. That’s all we need is an excuse for the IRS to hire a few more thousand thugs. Then 1% becomes 2%…

slickwillie2001 on July 22, 2011 at 10:14 AM

And the tax code will include loop holes for lower income Americans. The question is will they have to wait to get the tax break until they file their taxes? Poor people can’t afford to pay that extra tax on a vehicle purchase and wait you a year to get it back. Will some politician decide that low income Americans that are exempt from the tax will have to be issued a special card? If so, it will create a market for those that are making just over the minimum income to get fake cards.

And did you notice how BOR moderated his criticism of the Tea Party? hahahaha. He must have been blasted in emails.

csdeven on July 22, 2011 at 10:26 AM

And remember, Jay Carney himself just said yesterday that the economy has VASTLY improved since Obama took office.

pilamaye on July 22, 2011 at 10:20 AM

I went ahead and assumed he was talking about CHINA’s economy. It’s the only logical conclusion.

kooly on July 22, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Raise taxes! Make-up for that lost revenue! /state and federal donks.

Blake on July 22, 2011 at 10:28 AM

One of my closest colleagues just had to apply for food stamps. Unbelievable and very sad indeed. She was an insurance professional. There are NO JOBS, Obama you failure!

Key West Reader on July 22, 2011 at 10:24 AM

That is sad. Is he or she on the sales side?

katy the mean old lady on July 22, 2011 at 10:28 AM

In the past week, Cisco, Lockheed Martin and Borders announced a combined 23,000 in job cuts.

Very soon to be followed by NASA. Courtesy of BHO.

IrishEyes on July 22, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Key West Reader on July 22, 2011 at 10:24 AM
That is sad. Is he or she on the sales side?

katy the mean old lady on July 22, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Claims… I send her work occasionally whenever I can but it’s not enough. Taking her out to lunch today to try to cheer her up.

I loathe Obama. She voted for him.

Key West Reader on July 22, 2011 at 10:30 AM

There are some politicians in Washington right now that I would STAND UP AND CHEER if I saw any of them standing in an unemployment line right now, hoping they qualify for any type of benefits!

Let every single one of them feel the suffering and misery they have invoked on everyone else!

pilamaye on July 22, 2011 at 10:31 AM

Yup, the nerve of these yahoos!
katy the mean old lady on July 22, 2011 at 10:25 AM

Yahoos? Chattering class? Those terms are so 2008. The hip, with-it, cool folks now use “slopehead” as the de rigueur term for those who don’t worship at PBHO’s foot.

Bishop on July 22, 2011 at 10:31 AM

I loathe Obama. She voted for him.

Key West Reader on July 22, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Can’t help but wonder if your friend has changed her opinion of the Messiah……

search4truth on July 22, 2011 at 10:32 AM

kooly on July 22, 2011 at 10:27 AM

The Emperor Failbama has all the Socialists in the posse speaking this way. They act like they really believe it too, which is particularly frightening.

The economy is collapsing and they are all out saying how great the recovery is doing.

Thats the way propaganda works. Do you remember Baghdad Bob?

dogsoldier on July 22, 2011 at 10:33 AM

How’s that Stimulus thing working out?

mankai on July 22, 2011 at 10:35 AM

No job? No problem. We will build monuments to him…

http://www.guvsux.com/guvsux_20081027.jpg

beatcanvas on July 22, 2011 at 10:35 AM

Another Retailer Bites the Dust: Borders Doomed by Amazon Deal

After work today, I will be stopping by the nearest Borders to use my Rewards card for the last time, and I will probably do so with tears in my eyes, because for years I loved going there all the time to browse the new books and catch up on some of the classics.

It seriously pisses me off that they too have fallen victim to the economic mess we have right now. It just is not fair that great places like Borders are being brought down by what amounts to government financial economic mismanagement.

pilamaye on July 22, 2011 at 10:36 AM

Let every single one of them feel the suffering and misery they have invoked on everyone else!

pilamaye on July 22, 2011 at 10:31 AM

that’ll never happen. Don’t forget their lifetime pensions and gold plated health care plans.

Key West Reader on July 22, 2011 at 10:36 AM

I went ahead and assumed he was talking about CHINA’s economy. It’s the only logical conclusion.

kooly on July 22, 2011 at 10:27 AM

Either China or the White House staff and federal employees.

csdeven on July 22, 2011 at 10:38 AM

1% sales tax. Campaign promise 1236 broken and still counting

BruceB on July 22, 2011 at 10:38 AM

Not so sure this is a trend. Some of the mentioned companies are linked to specific events. Lockheed, I understand is being affected by the termination of the space shuttle program. Borders is a victim of new technology and mismanagement. They should have gone the route of B&N and moved towards the e-book model. I loved going to Borders, but the prices were outrageous, even when compared to the B&N which was on the other side of the street.

cktheman on July 22, 2011 at 10:42 AM

“the number of claimants in May 2011 was greatest in the food and transportation”

How did this get changed to May? It’s June in the linked report. And there are lot’s of other typos, ….

er, …. Ed, since you wrote your post, BLS has replaced your May report link to the June report.

Dusty on July 22, 2011 at 10:45 AM

Reuters must be made up of Obama administration staffers, with cozy six figure jobs! I fell out of my chair when they declared yet again yesterday that 400000 job loss is a sign of a stable job market.

SPGuy on July 22, 2011 at 10:47 AM

that’ll never happen. Don’t forget their lifetime pensions and gold plated health care plans.

Key West Reader on July 22, 2011 at 10:36 AM

True. Imagine…. our employees can increase their salaries, determine what their benefits will be, tell us what ours will be and exempt themselves from the crap we get and have to pay for.

I loathe 99.9 % of these SOBs.

Cody1991 on July 22, 2011 at 10:55 AM

WINNING# with a solid B +!

Mutnodjmet on July 22, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Ed, apropos of your headline, you put up the picture of the red head.

..oh, you said MASS layoffs.

Sorry.

The War Planner on July 22, 2011 at 11:00 AM

She’s baaaack.

AH_C on July 22, 2011 at 10:16 AM

She kind of looks like…..

well I would never do my hair that way..

Chip on July 22, 2011 at 11:04 AM

In other news, Jeffrey Immelt issued a statement today that says, in part, that an innovative new law, which will be entitled the “Anti Dog-Eat-Dog Act of the year 3 of the Glorious Reign of the Party” is presently under consideration in the administration.

The clear purpose of such an Act will be to establish some semblence of order in the marketplace, to encourage employers to do their patriotic duty and “Support Dear Leader in achieving full employment before the end of the current Four Year Plan in 2012!” (as Immelt was heard to exclaim) and to reward those companies who best exemplify the principals and values of the New America.

General Electric shareholders have not yet been heard from on the subject.

In other news, bombs exploded today in the general offices of Home Depot and in Wynn Hotels and Resorts. Homeland Security has taken charge of the investigation from local authorities, and has ascribed the explosions to unnamed “dissident American groups, obviously working closely with al Qaeda.” New cameras will be installed around and within the homes and offices of all company executives, for their own protection.

MTF on July 22, 2011 at 11:18 AM

And remember, Jay Carney himself just said yesterday that the economy has VASTLY improved since Obama took office.

pilamaye on July 22, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Obama’s economy is, at best, “HALF-VAST”!!!

/snark>

landlines on July 22, 2011 at 11:18 AM

But..but you’ve got to give Black Messiah a little more time to work his healing magic. The wonderful elixir of government regulation stifling small business hasn’t really kicked in yet-nor the hiring freezes caused by Obamacare-and just wait until all the funny money (1.6 trillion) starts circulating adding high inflation to high unemployment.And what happens when we’re 95% dependent on enemies for our energy supplies and China demands higher interest on its loans? Credit card debt crisis and a plummeting stock market waiting in the wings? Time for a round of golf and a Martha’s Vineyard vacation.

MaiDee on July 22, 2011 at 11:27 AM

She’s baaaack.

AH_C on July 22, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Yay! Maybe she took a temp job at Mickey-D’s for a few months?

MJBrutus on July 22, 2011 at 11:35 AM

But we can’t be losing jobs! The recession has officially been over since last year.

Obviously, these statistics are just whitey trying to keep a black president down.

Hmm. I think that this could have been a Kos diary post.

Physics Geek on July 22, 2011 at 11:35 AM

I posted this yesterday, get ready for a huuuuge layoff by Bank of America. There are very hot rumors that they are going to close their mortgage business, which employs about 20,000 people. None of them will find new jobs. I’m scrambling like never before to find something before all these people get dumped on the street.

MetLife just announced it is going to sell its bank because of all the new regulatons which end up being discriminatory against insurance companies that own banks. Interesting that they have decided they would rather deal directly with the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on their mortgage business than stay with the bank and the OCC.

rockmom on July 22, 2011 at 11:50 AM

I think the redhead passed away about a year ago and was sent to a taxidermist to be stuffed and stood up in line.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on July 22, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on July 22, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Say it isn’t so! We need Fiona as our HotAir harbinger of doom.

NaCly dog on July 22, 2011 at 12:07 PM

I loathe Obama. She voted for him.

Gosh and I was feeling sorry for her.

katablog.com on July 22, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Businesses react to this in rational ways, which is to shed excess labor and curtail expansion. 

The rational way to deal with falling demand is to lower the wages of employees until either your costs/prices are low enough to justify them, or enough quit. However, I suspect that there must be a law that effectively makes this rational behavior illegal.

Count to 10 on July 22, 2011 at 12:16 PM

Funding Acorn and the study of horny co-eds in Syracuse dorms didn’t jump start the economy yet?

Chuck Schick on July 22, 2011 at 12:20 PM

pilamaye on July 22, 2011 at 10:36 AM

I remember when Boarders was the devil because it would put all the local book shops out of business.

Count to 10 on July 22, 2011 at 12:24 PM

However, I suspect that there must be a law that effectively makes this rational behavior illegal.

Count to 10 on July 22, 2011 at 12:16 PM

You are correct: The prospect of endless harassment by a combination of the State/Federal Unemployment bureaucracy and the out-of-control NLRB make it more rational to simply close the business and throw EVERYONE out of work.

These days there are two types of criminal action which the federal government cannot forgive:

1. Starting a business (criminal)
2. Hiring an employee (arch criminal, immediately punishable by minimum 4% fines and over 5 pounds of paperwork/year forever)

landlines on July 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

No other company milks the tax laws like Government Electric. Its tax department is staffed by former members of the Treasury Department and the IRS. These people are well connected and GE has hundreds of lobbyists. Tax regulations have been passed explicitly for the benefit of GE.

I am looking for a new over the range microwave. Maytag is looking pretty good.

bw222 on July 22, 2011 at 12:31 PM

landlines on July 22, 2011 at 12:27 PM

I forgot the “Workers Compensation” scam:

Employer must pay whatever insurance company decides (typically minimum 1%-1.5% of payroll), and the Workers Compensation bureaucracy and contingency-fee lawyers decide later who gets the money…without your input.

landlines on July 22, 2011 at 12:32 PM

An auto-play ad video on the front page? Really?

bbhack on July 22, 2011 at 10:22 AM

Not to sound overly snarky, but you still aren’t using a browser with an ad-blocker? REALLY?

Yes, I know you may be at work, have you tried Portable Apps on a USB thumb drive? Allows you to browse with an Ad or Script blocker. Personally I allow Hot Air’s static ads, but only allow scripts I approve. So usually the obnoxious video ads don’t play.

wearyman on July 22, 2011 at 12:46 PM

New FED lending rules are forcing huge job loss in the mortgage broker industry. Think what you will of mtg brokers, but less brokers means less access to credit for consumers.

NASA is toast…expect lots of layoffs on the Space Coast

Porkulus artificially delayed many states and cities need to deal with their bloated labor costs…expect many government jobs to go bye bye.

Not a rosy picture, made worse by government meddling.

DrW on July 22, 2011 at 1:03 PM

If you think it’s bad now, wait until the new banking regulations hit in September / October.

It’s not going to be a very good Christmas season for a LOT of people.

Thank you “Liberals”!

KMC1 on July 22, 2011 at 1:40 PM

And I get to join the unemployment roll today! Just found out. Company is on life support and the hacking has started. Medical device startup company that just couldn’t get traction because no one in the health industry feels safe looking at new technology. Thanks, progressives!

ToddW on July 22, 2011 at 2:28 PM

Hey, look at the bright side, the president finally closed the borders….

Oops, make that Borders Bookstores.

Vashta.Nerada on July 22, 2011 at 2:57 PM