Department of Labor and Regulation

Title - Labor Market Information Center

Tracking data on mass layoffs: the Mass Layoff Statistics program

From the November 2011 South Dakota e-Labor Bulletin

The Mass Layoffs Statistics (MLS) program, which the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) administers, uses a standardized approach to identify, describe and track the effects of major job cutbacks using data from state unemployment insurance databases.

The national threshold to be considered a mass layoff is 50 initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits. State agencies contact establishments that have at least 50 initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) filed against them during a consecutive five-week period to determine whether those separations have a duration of at least 31 days. If so, it is considered a mass layoff event and information is gathered on the total number of workers separated, the reasons for those separations and recall expectations.

The Labor Market Information Center (LMIC) of the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR) works in cooperation with the BLS to conduct the MLS program for South Dakota. The table below compares the number of initial claimants and the number of mass layoff events for all South Dakota industries from 2000-2010.

South Dakota
Mass Layoff Statistics
All Industries
801 8
1,515 18
1,241 12
1,363 15
897 10
1,117 13
752 7
1,001 11
966 10
2,099 25
531 7

The corresponding graph of the initial claimants and layoff events show spikes during 2001 and 2009, which were related to recessionary periods.

Line graph showing SD MLS data for 2000 to 2010

Due to the methodology of the MLS program and the definition of a layoff event, a South Dakota layoff event will not trigger for an employer with fewer than 50 employees, or for an employer for which fewer than 50 initial unemployment insurance claims are filed within a five-week period. Therefore, the MLS program does not capture layoff data for smaller employers. South Dakota MLS data is also available on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

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Marcia Hultman, Secretary
123 W. Missouri Ave.
Pierre, SD 57501-4505
Tel. 605.773.3101
Fax. 605.773.6184