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October 2012, Vol. 135, No. 10
Which layoffs—and which laid-off workers—are in the Mass Layoff Statistics?
Elizabeth Weber Handwerker and Lowell G. Mason
Elizabeth Weber Handwerker is a research economist and Lowell G. Mason an economist in the Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics, Employment Research and Program Development Staff, at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The Mass Layoff Statistics (MLS) program is a federal-state cooperative effort to collect data on major job cutbacks throughout the United States. In this program, representatives of state workforce agencies contact establishments with at least 50 claims for unemployment insurance (UI) filed against them during a consecutive 5-week period to determine whether these claims are associated with layoffs that will last at least 31 days. If so, the state agencies administer a short survey. This survey asks how many people were laid off in total, what the reason for the layoff was, and whether (and when) any recall of these workers is expected. These data, available since April 1995, are combined with administrative data on employers, such as their industry and location, as well as with data on the characteristics of their associated UI claimants, such as gender, age, and race, to form the MLS.
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