If trends hold, healthcare employers are on track to post the highest number of mass layoffs in more than a decade, according to statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Providers surpassed the 10-year average for yearly mass layoffs in Septembera month that also saw the second-largest percentage increase in mass layoffs in a decade. Only in September 2005 did healthcare employers record more mass layoffs, which are defined by the bureau as actions involving 50 workers from the same employer.
In 2008, healthcare employers recorded 511 mass layoffs through Oct. 31. The average over the past 10 years has been 463 annually, according to the statistics. If this years monthly average holds, 2008 would surpass 2005s record of 585 mass layoffs. The mass layoffs sent 4,021 people filing initial claims for unemployment benefits in September, and another 2,823 in October. So far this year, more than 38,738 people filed initial claims, surpassing the 10-year annual average of 38,468.
But good news could be found in the month-to-month statistics, which show this years mass layoffs peaked in September and then declined in October. Though Octobers 39 layoffs doubled the number seen in October 2007, it was also a decrease from the 54 recorded in September 2008. -- by Joe Carlson