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. Economics

    A Look at Greece’s Messy Fiscal Policy

    Investigate the muddy fiscal policy, tax problems, and inability to institute austerity that created the Greek crises in 2010 and 2015.
  2. Professionals

    Is it Time to (Finally) Push Kids Out of the Nest?

    Parents should make sure their kids realize their home is a launching pad not a landing spot, and advisors can help clients talk to their children.
  3. Economics

    How Do Asset Bubbles Cause Recessions?

    Understand how asset bubbles often lead to deep, protracted recessions. Read about historical examples of recessions preceded by asset bubbles.
  4. Investing News

    What Shook the U.S. Stock Market Today?

    What was looking as a decent year for US Stock market has suddenly gone off track as the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 531 points in the week ending August 23, 2015.
  5. Economics

    Understanding Frictional Unemployment

    Frictional unemployment is one aspect of natural unemployment, which is unemployment caused by things other than an underperforming economy.
  6. Professionals

    Why Investors Should Consider Cash Right Now

    With so many market watchers thinking that the current stock rally is getting long in the tooth, investors might considering upping their cash holdings.
  7. Stock Analysis

    How GM Keeps on Truckin'

    Following a giant bailout and a giant IPO, the new GM is carried by sales of its giant trucks. But is it profitable?
  8. Professionals

    Millennials & Debt: Why So Many Still Live at Home

    More millennials live with their parents now than they did during recent recessions. Here's why.
  9. Investing News

    Does the Empire State Index Signal a Recession?

    This morning, the New York Federal Reserve Bank reported the worst numbers in six years for its August 2015 Empire State Manufacturing Survey, indicating not only a potential economic slowdown ...
  10. Taxes

    Top Tips for Minimizing Taxes on Severance Pay

    A look at the top ways to lessen the tax burden on severance pay.
RELATED TERMS
  1. The New Deal

    A series of domestic programs designed to help the United States ...
  2. Total Permanent Disability (TPD)

    A condition in which an individual is no longer able to work ...
  3. Concurrent Periods

    A period of time in which more than one injury or disability ...
  4. Working Tax Credit (WTC)

    A tax credit offered to low-income individuals working in the ...
  5. Global Recession

    An extended period of economic decline around the world. The ...
  6. The Great Recession

    The steep decline in economic activity during the late 2000s, ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What are the best free online calculators for calculating my taxable income?

    Free online calculators for determining your taxable income are located at Bankrate.com, TaxACT.com and Moneychimp.com. Determining ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What economic indicators are important to consider when investing in the retail sector?

    The unemployment rate and Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) rank as two of the most important economic indicators to consider ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How does the risk of investing in the industrial sector compare to the broader market?

    There is increased risk when investing in the industrial sector compared to the broader market due to high debt loads and ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. How does comprehensive income get reported on my 1040?

    As of 2015, on the standard IRS Form 1040, your comprehensive or total income is calculated through lines 7-22. This is different ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. How can I hedge my portfolio to protect from a decline in the retail sector?

    The retail sector provides growth investors with a great opportunity for better-than-average gains during periods of market ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What is the correlation between term structure of interest rates and recessions?

    There is no question that interest rates have enormous macroeconomic importance. Many economists and analysts believe the ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!