For affected workers the statistics are little comfort. However, as percentages of total mass layoffs and workers affected, last months numbers in manufacturing are the lowest for any December since the U.S. Labor Department began compiling the data in 1995. The department defines a mass layoff as one affecting at least 50 workers in a single establishment.
In December 2004, there were 436 mass layoffs affecting 50,726 workers among U.S. manufacturers. The numbers of workers affected were greatest in transportation equipment, food processing, and electrical equipment and appliance manufacturing, the Labor Department reported on Jan. 26.
Throughout the U.S. economy in December there were 1,614 mass layoffs affecting 161,271 employees.
For all of 2004, there were 15,890 mass layoffs across the country, affecting 1.607 million workers.