The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its monthly report on "mass layoffs" yesterday. It also included annual totals and an eleven-year chart of mass layoff history.
A "mass layoff action" involves "at least 50 persons from a single establishment." Since 1988, employers have been required to give 60 days notice of "covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs." The BLS Mass Layoffs report compiles those notices.
Now that 2006 is in the record books, here is that eleven-year chart:
As you can see, the total number of "layoff events" in 2006 came in at the lowest on record (BLS began compiling these statistics during the second quarter of 1995), while the number of people who filed unemployment claims as a result of those layoffs was the lowest in 10 years. On a percentage-of-workforce basis, the number of unemployment claims filers in 2006 was also, along with the layoff events, the lowest in the 11 full years BLS has reported on this information.
Some of those years would include the formerly Mainstream Media's favorite period for reporting good news about the economy, namely 1997 through 2000. Well, it so happens that the number of employees filing claims as a result of mass layoffs during that media-perceived Golden Age (6.72 million) is barely less than the comparative number (6.78 million) for the "Greatest Story Never Told" economy of 2003 through 2006. As with the single-year comparison in the previous paragraph, the 2003-2006 percentage of the workforce affected by mass layoffs was lower than the percentage so affected during 1997-2000.
A Google News search on "mass layoffs" (in quotes) at about 11PM last night only had about 15 stories on the latest mass layoffs report, all relating to coverage of individual states by business weekly newspapers.
The failure to report good economic news by the formerly Mainstream Media's business press would explain why American Research Group's monthly poll about the economy continues to show people believing that it is not in good shape, or being handled well:
When news of favorable developments like the record low in mass layoffs is totally ignored, why would anyone expect a different result?
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.