Southwest Information Office

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Monday, April 2, 2012

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Mass Layoffs in Arkansas – 2011 Annual Totals


Employers in Arkansas took 154 mass layoff actions in 2011 that resulted in the separation of 16,665 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 and table 1.) Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single employer. Regional Commissioner Stanley W. Suchman noted that the number of claims reached a series high in 2011, more than doubling the 2010 level of 7,748. Annual mass layoff data for states has been available since 1996.

Chart 1. Mass layoff initial claims, Arkansas, annual totals, 2008-2011

Industry distribution

Of all the industry sectors in Arkansas, manufacturing experienced the most mass layoff events in 2011 with 94. Similarly, this sector had the largest number of initial claimants at 10,808, the fourth-highest level recorded in this industry. (See table 1.) Historically, manufacturing has accounted for the vast majority of total claims in the state, making up more than 80 percent in most years from 1996 to 2007. However, in recent years, the recession caused ever greater numbers of claims from service-providing industries in the state, while the share of jobs found in manufacturing continued to decline. As a result, despite the relatively high number of manufacturing initial claimants last year, manufacturing’s 65-percent share of total claims in 2011 was the second-lowest in the history of the series.

Administrative and waste services ranked second in both the number of mass layoff events and unemployment insurance claims in 2011, at 16 and 1,319, respectively. The health care and social assistance sector had 10 layoff events and 890 claimants over the 12-month period. Combined with manufacturing, these three industry sectors accounted for more than 78 percent of all initial claims in the state in 2011. (See chart 1.) Only one other industry sector had more than 500 claims, accommodation and food services (668). With the exception of manufacturing, the level of claims noted in the sectors mentioned above, all reached series highs in 2011.

On a percentage basis, local government experienced the largest increase in annual claims, up 290.0 percent, followed by state government (154.5 percent), and manufacturing (136.7 percent).

Among the states, California recorded the largest number of initial claims during 2011 at 377,413. Following California were Pennsylvania (124,838), New York (119,398), and Florida (79,766). Twenty-nine states experienced over-the-year declines in mass layoff-related initial claims, while 20 states and the District of Columbia registered increases; claims were unchanged in South Dakota. Among the states recording decreases in initial claims, the largest declines occurred in California (-42,396) and Illinois (-19,191), with the remaining states registering decreases of less than 10,000. North Carolina registered the largest increase (22,393) and three states – Arkansas, Nebraska, and North Carolina – reported record highs for the mass layoff initial claims series.


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 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.

For personal assistance or further information on the Mass Layoff Statistics program, as well as other Bureau products, contact the Southwest Information Office at (972) 850-4800 from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. CT. 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.



Definitions

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, Arkansas, annual totals
Industry Mass layoff events Initial claims for unemployment insurance
2008 2009 2010 2011 2008 2009 2010 2011

Total, all industries (1)

116 117 71 154 11,914 12,353 7,748 16,665

Total private

113 114 68 147 11,618 12,043 7,482 16,134

Total private nonfarm

113 114 68 147 11,618 12,043 7,482 16,134

Construction

(3) 5 3 3 (3) 458 187 280

Heavy and civil engineering construction

(3) (3) (3) 3 (3) (3) (3) 280

Manufacturing

78 74 38 94 8,557 8,073 4,566 10,808

Food

15 12 8 26 1,918 1,633 845 2,834

Wood products

7 8 (3) 7 668 875 (3) 908

Plastics and rubber products (2)

6 5 (3) (3) 524 467 (3) (3)

Primary metals

8 6 - (3) 673 1,039 - (3)

Fabricated metal products

8 5 (3) (3) 650 271 (3) (3)

Machinery (2)

10 9 10 10 871 772 950 1,310

Electrical equipment and appliances

5 5 5 5 941 459 876 823

Transportation equipment (2)

7 11 (3) 8 795 1,152 (3) 653

Furniture and related products (2)

(3) 4 (3) 4 (3) 762 (3) 728

Miscellaneous manufacturing (2)

(3) (3) (3) 6 (3) (3) (3) 443

Retail trade

(3) 7 6 (3) (3) 943 1,133 (3)

Administrative and waste services (2)

10 8 (3) 16 742 718 (3) 1,319

Administrative and support services (2)

10 8 (3) 16 742 718 (3) 1,319

Health care and social assistance

8 6 5 10 570 508 428 890

Social assistance

5 5 4 8 385 427 365 780

Accommodation and food services

3 4 5 8 233 286 397 668

Food services and drinking places

3 4 5 8 233 286 397 668

Other services except public administration

- - (3) 3 - - (3) 233

Government

3 3 3 7 296 310 266 531

Federal

- - 1 - - - 84 -

State

3 2 1 4 296 246 132 336

Local

- 1 1 3 - 64 50 195

Footnotes:
(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.