Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mass layoffs down 27 percent during first half of 2011 in Colorado

Mass layoff events fell 27 percent to 54 events during the first half of 2011 in Colorado. There were 74 mass layoff events during the same period last year. According to a new report released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 9 mass layoff events during June 2011, which is down 35 percent from the 14 events reported during June of last year.

Monthly mass layoff events grew rapidly after October 2008 in Colorado, and have gradually lessened since early 2010.



Nationally, mass layoff events decreased 10 percent from 1,861 during June 2010 to 1,661 during June of this year.

In the year-to-date total for June, mass layoffs have now fallen two years in a row after peaking at 97 mass layoffs during the first half of 2009. The second graph shows year-to-date totals for June since 2001:



Mass layoffs were rare from 2004 through most of 2008.

Overall, the most recent mass layoffs data suggests that the employment situation continues to stabilize. New layoffs continue to lessen, but as we've seen in the most recent employment data, job growth continues to disappoint.

New jobless claims

New claims for unemployment insurance rose year over year in June by 42 percent to 708 in June 2011. There were 1,237 new claims during June of last year. New claims for unemployment insurance have also gradually fallen since early 2010. Nationally, new claimants fell 6.5 percent during the same period.

As can be seen in the third graph, year-over-year changes in new unemployment claims points toward more and more stability in the labor markets as most year-over-year changes has been below zero since late 2009.



In year-to-date totals for new unemployment claims through June, totals are down 20 percent year over year. There were 5,695 new claims during the first half of 2011, compared to 7,163 new claims during the same period last year. In the year-to-date total for June, new claims for unemployment insurance have now fallen two years in a row after peaking at 8,919 claims during the first half of 2009. The last graph shows year-to-date totals for June since 2001:




Analysis
The year-over-year comparisons clearly show that both new claims and mass layoffs are down from both 2009 and 2010 so far this year. However,total employment in Colorado is still 179,000 jobs below peak levels. New layoffs and new unemployment claims continue to fall, but there is little job creation going on at the same time to provide for re-entry into the workforce. The fact that recent layoffs are such a small portion of the total number of jobless persons suggests that those people who are unemployed have been unemployed for an extended period of time. (The most recent Colorado employment data states that there are 234,477 unemployed workers in Colorado.)