Monday, August 24, 2009

Massive Unemployment: Mass Layoffs July 2009

Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the July installment of the Mass Layoff Report showing a notable deceleration in both layoff events as well as total initial claimants with 3054 mass layoff events resulting in 336,654 initial unemployment claims causing the six month moving average of non-seasonally adjusted mass layoff events to trend down but still remain 76.09% above the level seen last year while total initial claimants increased 77.96% on a year-over-year basis.

As with the initial unemployment claims series, I overestimated the impact of the typical seasonal spike of July layoffs that, although materializing, did so at a lower level (+75% YOY as apposed to say +98%) than I had originally anticipated.

For the remainder of the year it will be interesting to see if this series continues to tease out peak or, in the event that H2 disappoints, if mass layoffs begin to tick up again as firms go through a second round of downsizing.

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.