Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Massive Unemployment: Mass Layoffs May 2009

Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the May installment of the Mass Layoff Report clearly showing continued deterioration of the nation’s job market with 2738 mass layoff events resulting in 289,628 initial unemployment claims causing the six month moving average of non-seasonally adjusted mass layoff events to jump by 76.42% while total initial claimants increased 81.62% on a year-over-year basis.

Further, as you can see clearly from the charts below (click for full-screen super-interactive zoom-able chart) May typically brings a solid seasonal DECLINE in both mass layoff events total initial unemployment claims filed… this year however…. Things are different.

As I have pointed out in prior posts, mid-July marks the next typical seasonally spike in unemployment activity (a trend clearly seen in the non-seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims series as well as the non-seasonally adjusted mass layoff data) and it appears from today’s mass layoff results, that the July peak may be notable.

Notice from the data below that the typical May decline in mass layoffs did NOT occur and, in fact, look to be surging… This is likely giving us an early indication that the July spike will be worse than normal.

The BLS considers a mass layoff event to be a condition where there are at least fifty initial claims for unemployment insurance originating from a single employer over a period of five consecutive weeks.