Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mass Layoff Index vs. Initial Unemployment Insurance Claims

Click on Chart for a Larger Image

The Bureau of Labor Statistics today published a pretty interesting chart that plots the Mass Layoff Index (Red dashed line, Left-Hand Scale) against the Initial Claims for Unemployment Insurance Benefits (Blue Line, Right Hand Scale).

It's interesting to note that the correlation shows that roughly 100 people file for UI benefits for every mass layoff---but you shouldn't read into that meaning that on average a mass layoff = 100 workers. Actually it would be less than that, because smaller businesses also are laying off people---but when economic conditions are bad enough for big business to lay people off (which would be registered in the Mass Layoff statistics), that would mean that smaller companies would likewise be letting people go.

The other interesting point on the chart is that back around December 2007---There was ~150,000/week filing first time claims---Now there's ~250,000 - 300,000 people per week filing claims. People might call the recent weeks declines a green-shoot---but compared to last year, it certainly is not.

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