The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently released the mass layoff data for December. There were a seasonally adjusted 1,726 mass layoffs for the month (with "mass layoff" defined as 50 or more workers losing their jobs at a single employer) accounting for 153,127 jobs - and that was good news.

The staggering number of lost jobs is enough to fill the 91,665 seat FedEx Field (the National Football League's largest stadium) with the overflow filling three-quarters of the 80,242 seats at Giants Stadium's (the league's second-largest venue). (Layoff rumors can run rampant, but if your company is required to give you two months' notice, you can plan for unemployment. Find out how in Layoffs: Know The WARNing Signs.)

However, there is a bit of hope - this data showed a decrease of 87 mass layoff events and 10,696 jobs from the previous month's total, marking the smallest number of workers cut in a month since July 2008.

Unemployment Through The Recession
Since the start of the recession in December 2007 through the closing month of 2009, the U.S. private sector shed 5,242,840 jobs, as measured by initial claims for unemployment. That would fill the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - the largest sporting venue on earth with a seating capacity of 400,000 - just over 13 times.

Food service contractors, highway/street/bridge construction, school and employee bus transportation, and temporary help were the industries hardest hit by what are officially referred to as "mass layoff initial claims." The BLS reported that the manufacturing sector accounted for 27% of all mass layoff events and 30% of initial claims filed in December.

These stunning numbers are down from 41% and 49%, respectively, from a year ago. (Rebounding from a stint of unemployment can be a frustrating thing to do. These tips should soften the blow: How Unemployment Affects You (Even If You're Working).)

The Worst States
In a continuation of the year's trend, the Midwest saw the highest number of initial claims in December. For the year, the State of California led the nation in terms of initial claims filed, with Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio taking the remainder of the top-five slots. The states faring the worst when compared to the prior year include:

State Increase From 2008
Illinois 89,810
California 85,548
Pennsylvania 54,483

Twenty-six states broke records in 2009, racking up the largest number of mass layoff claims since data tracking began in the second quarter of 1995. Nationally, the unemployment rate remains stalled at 10%. States with the highest unemployment rates include:

States With Double-Digit Unemployment Rates

State Rate
Michigan 14.6%
Nevada 13.0%
Rhode Island 12.9%
South Carolina 12.6%
California 12.4%
District of Columbia 12.1%
Florida 11.8%
North Carolina 11.2%
Illinois 11.1%
Oregon 11.0%
Alabama 11.0%
Tennessee 10.9%
Ohio 10.9%
Kentucky 10.7%
Mississippi 10.6%
Georgia 10.3%
New Jersey 10.1%
Source - Bureau of Labor Statistics

The numbers aren't that great across the country, but there was some good news. Seven states actually had fewer workers make initial claims in 2009 than they did in 2008. The top three include:

State Decrease from 2008
Louisiana 5,566
Mississippi 3,702
Kentucky 2,632

Job Creation: Not Happening Yet
While the stock market turnaround witnessed in 2009 brought good news to investors, the struggling economic turnaround has so far been jobless. The International Labour Organization, an agency under the umbrella of the United Nations, recently announced that the jobless recovery has left 212 million people out of work across the globe. The agency anticipates high unemployment through 2010 and economists for the American Bankers Association agree with that forecast. Although mass layoff data is trending downward, job growth does not appear likely in the near term.

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    4 Key Indicators That Move The Markets

    Educated investors need to keep their finger on the pulse of the economy, and watching certain indicators is a good way to do that.
  2. Economics

    What Countries Spend On Antiterrorism

    It would be an understatement to say that no country's anti-terrorism budget has decreased in the last two decades. Here are some hard numbers.
  3. Savings

    The Worst Financial Problems Ultra-High-Net-Worth-Individuals (UHNWIs) Face

    Understand how the problems of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) are different from ordinary problems, and identify the unique financial challenges they face.
  4. Retirement

    The 3 Most Affordable Retirement Communities in New Jersey

    Discover why New Jersey is an unexpected retirement destination, and learn more about affordable retirement communities in the state.
  5. Economics

    4 Countries in Recession and Crisis Since 2008

    See which major world economies haven't recovered from the global recession in the early 21st century, including a long-stagnant industrial power in Asia.
  6. Economics

    What to Expect From Mortgage Rates in 2016

    Understand the factors that influence the direction of mortgage rates, and use this information to project what will happen with rates in 2016.
  7. Economics

    Don't Hide From The Reality Of How Terrorism Affects The Economy

    After major terror attacks, most people don't want to think about economics. But the post-terror economy affects the lives of the whole world, so it's important to be knowledgeable.
  8. Economics

    Top 5 Cities with the Highest Inflation in the US

    Find out which American cities are hit hardest by inflation, and why California residents find themselves in a bigger pinch than anyone else.
  9. Investing

    How Stockpile Works

    Stockpile is making stock market investing easier for the masses.
  10. Economics

    How The Unemployment Rate Affects Everybody

    Depending on how it's measured, the unemployment rate is open to interpretation. Learn how to find the real rate.
  1. Which mutual funds made money in 2008?

    Out of the 2,800 mutual funds that Morningstar, Inc., the leading provider of independent investment research in North America, ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How much money does Florida make from unclaimed property each year?

    Each year, goods such as money, financial investments and physical property are either auctioned off or appraised before ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How much money does Michigan make from unclaimed property each year?

    According to the 2013-2014 Annual Report of the State Treasurer, the state of Michigan earned only $82,875 in abandoned and ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How much money does California make from unclaimed property each year?

    The state of California has estimated that its general fund will earn $442 million from various unclaimed properties. As ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Do interest rates increase during a recession?

    Interest rates rarely increase during a recession. Actually, the opposite tends to happen; as the economy contracts, interest ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What are the risks of annuities in a recession?

    Annuities come in several forms, the two most common being fixed annuities and variable annuities. During a recession, variable ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Barefoot Pilgrim

    A slang term for an unsophisticated investor who loses all of his or her wealth by trading equities in the stock market. ...
  2. Quick Ratio

    The quick ratio is an indicator of a company’s short-term liquidity. The quick ratio measures a company’s ability to meet ...
  3. Black Tuesday

    October 29, 1929, when the DJIA fell 12% - one of the largest one-day drops in stock market history. More than 16 million ...
  4. Black Monday

    October 19, 1987, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) lost almost 22% in a single day. That event marked the beginning ...
  5. Monetary Policy

    Monetary policy is the actions of a central bank, currency board or other regulatory committee that determine the size and ...
  6. Indemnity

    Indemnity is compensation for damages or loss. Indemnity in the legal sense may also refer to an exemption from liability ...
Trading Center