Mass layoffs in the fourth quarter of 2011 declined to their lowest level in six years, but construction jobs still took a big hit on the end of seasonal hiring, the government said Friday.
The Department of Labor reported 528 mass layoffs in the construction segment, impacting 66,110 workers this week. Construction cuts alone represented 32% of mass layoffs over the final three months of 2011. Most of those job losses were attributable to the end of seasonal construction activity in an already anemic building market.
Overall, employers in the fourth quarter began 1,638 layoffs, leading to the dismissal of 266,971 employees, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.
When comparing the most recent fourth quarter to a year earlier, the Labor Department noted a decline in layoffs, with the government reporting 1,999 layoff events, impacting 338,643 workers, in the 2010 fourth quarter.
Mass layoffs grew to 1,638 cuts in 4Q from 1,393 in the third quarter. Still, 3Q cuts displaced more workers, with 289,330 losing their jobs during that period.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics concluded, "The construction and the accommodation and food services sectors experienced the largest declines in the numbers of worker separations over the year. Fourteen of the 21 manufacturing subsectors experienced over-the-year decreases in the number of layoff events."