As reported in the NY Times (hat tip Laura R.):
When a company lays off 50 or more workers, the government considers this to be an “event,” almost as if it were a wedding or a concert. But no one is excited that more of these events occurred in the third quarter of 2008 than they did in the period a year earlier.Looking at just the September 2008 claims from mass layoffs vs. September 2007, we can see just how large an increase we've seen across the board. Interesting / unfortunately, it looks like the finance and insurance layoffs that have made the news were the least of the economy's problems to date (this will most assuredly change by year end).
According to preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1,330 extended mass layoffs occurred in the third quarter, 312 more than in 2007.