Initial Claims for Unemployment Rise; Mass Layoffs Reach Record Levels

By Staff Report

Apr. 23, 2009

The number of U.S. initial claims for unemployment benefits rose 4.4 percent to 640,000 in the week ended April 18 from the previous week’s revised number of 613,000, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday, April 23.

The four-week moving average of claims fell 0.7 percent to 646,750 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 651,000.

Mass layoffs and their associated initial claims for unemployment benefits reached their highest levels on record in March, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of mass layoffs rose 85 percent year-over-year in March to 2,933, and initial unemployment claims associated with mass layoffs rose 85.4 percent to 299,388, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released Thursday by the bureau.

Temporary-help services were the industry with the highest number of initial jobless claims at 9,964 (not seasonally adjusted).

A mass-layoff action involves at least 50 workers from a single workplace.

—Staffing Industry Analysts

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