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Mass layoffs hit all-time high

Employers initiated 1,776 mass layoff events in the third quarter of 2009 that resulted in the separation of 277,924 workers from their jobs for at least 31 days, according to preliminary figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of extended mass layoff events reached a record high for any third quarter (with data available back to 1995). Third quarter program highs in the number of events were also recorded in half of the 18 major industry sectors, two of the four geographic regions, four of the nine divisions and 15 states.

Separations due to business demand reasons increased by 27 percent from the same period a year ago. Thirty-three percent of employers reporting an extended mass layoff event in the third quarter of 2009 indicated they anticipated some type of recall, up slightly from 29 percent a year earlier.

Third quarter 2009 layoff data are preliminary and are subject to revision.

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