Layoffs in the U.S. are at their lowest levels since April 2008, according to data released by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Manufacturing is still the largest industry affected by layoffs, but numbers are down for 13 of the 19 major industries the BLS tracks.
Professional and technical services saw major declines in initial claims between August and September: In August initial claims were 4,657; In September, initial claims were 1,504.
"The number of mass layoff events in September decreased by 60 from the prior month, the third consecutive over-the-month decrease. The number of associated initial claims decreased by 16,813 to its lowest level since April 2008. In September, 345 mass layoff events were reported in the manufacturing sector, seasonally adjusted, resulting in 34,168 initial claims. Both figures declined over the month."
There were increases in layoffs, however, mostly from state job cuts made in education and other government-related occupations, the report concluded.
Regionally speaking, the Midwest saw the largest year-over-year declines in initial unemployment claims, and in terms of geographic divisions--the East North Central and Pacific saw large declines as well. California had the largest number of initial September claims, but was still a major part of the year over year declines in initial claims.
"Thirty-one states experienced over-the-year decreases in initial claims, led by California, Illinois, and Michigan... The District of Columbia, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming matched September program lows for average weekly initial claims, while Idaho, Montana, and North Carolina reached program highs for the month in terms of average weekly initial claims."
""We've been stuck in this band between 450,000 and 500,000 for most of 2010, so to break through that and get to 434,000 is definitely a step in the right direction," he [Quinlan] said. "That said, we're still not yet at a level that would be consistent with private sector growth in employment.""
Some notable layoffs in technology included the Web traffic hounds at Digg who let go over 30 employees last week. HP also saw some recent layoffs in the UK.