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Employers took 1,672 mass layoff actions in February, the highest level since September 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to seasonally adjusted numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Mass layoff actions were up 23.7% from 1,352 in February 2007. In addition, the number of initial unemployment claims associated with mass layoff actions rose to 177,374 in February, up 23.3% from February 2007.
Mass layoffs in the manufacturing sector amounted to 28% of all mass layoff events in February and 36% of related initial claims for unemployment benefits, according to BLS number that aren't seasonally adjusted. Temporary help services had the highest number of initial claims related to mass layoffs in February at 8,858.
A mass layoff action involves at least 50 workers from a single workplace.