13 November 2008

The Other MLS: Mass Layoff Statistics

Most boomers recognize MLS as the Multiple Listing Service used in real estate. We now learn another meaning of the abbreviation: Mass Layoff Statistics, a state and federal data collection effort published on the web site of the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This employment-focused MLS doesn't publish the names of companies laying off employees but it does disclose the stats surrounding the loss of jobs when more than 50 workers file for unemployment insurance (UI) in a 5-week period. The statistic becomes "extended mass layoff" when 50 separated workers are documented past 31 days.

The MLS pages contrast with news accounts that name companies, quote executives, and tie the layoff statistics to quarterly financial reports. While the confidential and anonymous nature of MLS withholds identifying data, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Even anonymous stories carry a punch.

Today, Tom Bold heard from a friend who is part of a layoff announced without warning. This friend's employer had a larger layoff in early 2008 (10% of the workforce at that point) and says this one can be smaller (4% of the current workforce). Of course, if you're part of a layoff, there is little consolation in it being a single-digit-percentage layoff. How will Tom's friend fare? His severance package is literally half of what it would have been if he had been included in the earlier and larger layoff. His layoff will be immediate whereas the earlier layoff group had several months' warning. And with rising unemployment this fall, his chances for a new job are probably lower today than they would have been earlier in 2008.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

No comments: