Layoffs Are Up And So Is Pay


    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Through the first six months of the year there were 9,507 mass layoff events nationwide that resulted in 1.13 million new claims for unemployment insurance benefits through June.

    So reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Bureau materials show mass layoffs in 2001 were up 27.3 percent compared to the first six months of last year, and initial unemployment claims were up by 37.7 percent from 2000.

    The Department of Labor defines a mass layoff event as one in which 50 or more workers are idled.

    In June, 2,081 such layoffs occurred, and the manufacturing industry accounted for 36 percent of them.

    Transportation equipment, electronic and electric parts, and textile products were the sectors with the most industrial layoffs. The services industry was second with 25 percent of June’s layoffs.

    The Midwest had the largest increase in initial unemployment insurance claims this year from mass layoffs. Only the Western region of the nation had a drop in claims for the first six months of the year when compared to 2000.

    Michigan had the second highest number of initial claims filed this year from layoffs —26,714 — trailing only California, which had 46,675.

    Those two states along with Pennsylvania, Illinois, South Carolina and Texas have accounted for more than half of all layoff events and all new unemployment claims this year.

    For July, the number of unemployed persons nationwide was essentially unchanged at 6.4 million, and the unemployment rate held at 4.5 percent. The jobless rate has been at either 4.4 percent or 4.5 percent since April. The most recent low was 3.9 percent in October 2000.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported that annual average pay rose by 4.3 percent nationwide, going from $31,945 in 1998 to $33,313 in 1999 — the most recent measurement.

    Connecticut was the state with the highest average annual pay level of $42,653, while Michigan was ranked eighth at $35,734.

    In 1999, the average annual pay in metropolitan areas rose by 4.4 percent from 1998. In non-metro areas, the average increase was smaller at 3.8 percent.

    The highest average annual pay level for a metropolitan area in 1999 belonged to San Jose, Calif., where the hub of Silicon Valley averaged $61,110. New York and San Francisco were second and third respectively, with $52,351 and $50,169. The nation’s lowest average annual pay, $20,280 per year, belonged to Jacksonville, N.C.

    Southeast Michigan, namely the Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint area, had the second-smallest pay increase for a consolidated metropolitan region in 1999 at 3.4 percent.

    Only Akron, Ohio, had a smaller raise of 2.8 percent.

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