Mass Layoff Events Spike

Tyler Durden's picture

In a dramatic reversal to the moderating trend from the past several months, Mass Layoff Events surged from 256,357 in June to a whopping 336,654 in July, a 31% increase, and surprisingly the second highest reading for the year since January's 388 thousand. Actual MLE increased by 21% from 2,519 to 3,054. The primary weakness was focused in the manufacturing sector, where claims jumped from 85 thousand to 154 thousand, an 81% increase.

As a reminder, the BLS defines a Mass Layoff Event as one that occurs when an
establishment has at least 50 initial unemployment compensation claims
filed against it within a five-week period and the layoff lasts longer
than 30 days.

Another indication that purported recovery in unemployment is here to stay.

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Miles Kendig's picture

This is just about the only option available to business shapers to meet the streets lowered expectations (X Items) in Q3 & Q4.

Ducky's picture

Yeah you can just see the new productivity increase green shoot from the layoffs huh?


Steak's picture

But but the seasonally adjusted numbers showed a drop of almost 600...I think we should just trust what the government tells us and not do crazy things like look at non-seasonally adjusted statistics.

All Jackson cornHole-worthy economists know that what Mr. Durden is doing here by just wishing away the government's adjustments and giving the public a distorted view of what is actually going on.

Ducky's picture

Looks like Challenger,Gray, Christmas was right! The only green shoot is the stock market.

Thanks for the selling opportunity to all the buyers!

sigmadelta's picture
sigmadelta (not verified) Ducky Aug 21, 2009 2:55 PM

US, Europe, and Japan currently remains weak, leaving as one of the only real engines out there for

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jefe95's picture

I'm confused.  Big Ben just said we are on the cusp of recovery.

What data does he look at it to say such things?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture


Ben doesn't do something silly like look at data. Green shoots requires looking at the bigger picture, seen through the prism of hope, dreams and more time needed for his cohorts to finish this stage of the looting.

Opps, is this microphone on?

Project Mayhem's picture

Jefe, I thought about the same thing a few minutes ago. Bernake is obviously lying.   But why?   


We all know that the days left in this charade are numbered.  The smart money is not fooled by the lies.  So we must conclude Bernanke's words are directed at the general public -- the ignorant and television pacified masses -- and the pundits who repeat the nonsense as if it is truth.


Then a new idea dawned on me -- perhaps there is an 'external event' in the works.  This 'external event' could take the form of any number of things -- a failed auction, bank failure, a new war, mutated flu virus, airstrikes on Iran, war in Georgia, whatever.  Now, what you do is you maintain that everything is turning around -- keep the steady drumbeat of 'recovery' going in the media -- and wait for this 'external event' to manifest itself in the media.


Once this event occurs , with the ensuing dramatic consequences, you blame the failure of the recovery on the external event -- rather than on the underlying structural causes.

deadhead's picture

mayhem....excellent point.   additionally, the obvious is Ben's personal campaign to keep his job.

i still think obama will dump him


Project Mayhem's picture

I also think Bernanke will get dumped.  It will be convenient to place blame on him, while a new Fed chairman is installed -- one who will be 'accomodative' to the geometrically increasing funding requirements of Treasury.

Miles Kendig's picture

Perhaps.  If things take a nasty turn the call logs and schedules of Ben & Tim could always be leaked along with the non denial denial that there is an active federal investigation.

Anonymous's picture

I think Ben is wordsmithing us:

"After contracting sharply over the past year, economic activity appears to be leveling out, both in the United States and abroad, and the prospects for a return to growth in the near term appear good."

So does he mean that we will have growth in the near term Q3 (boosted artifically by stimulus) and then growth will start to falter for the next quarters?

"Leveling out" Not sure what that means. back to 1-2% not the 4-6% that the market is pricing.

Kind of surprised that I haven't seen more on his use of double-talk. R

e1even1's picture

"Then a new idea dawned on me -- perhaps there is an 'external event' in the works."

raise your hand and say "bingo". the axiom ...

Never let a perfectly good crisis go to waste.

and corollary ...

Don't let the lack of an available crisis slow you down. Be creative!

Ev's picture

Agreed -- excellent point.

Those who believe that 9-11 was an inside job sponsored by Bush and his masters will no doubt see the similarities.  Those who believe that 9-11 was pulled off by an oddball hanging out in a cave in the mountains of Eastern Pakistan will of course think otherwise.

Joe Sixpack's picture

Unfortunately, enough people know that he is lying, so in order to keep it going, the government is going to need to rely on marshall law or other means. 

Anonymous's picture

Indeed, an external event could be triggered to blame all the ills of the economy on it ... Remember 9/11 ?

Anonymous's picture

In all fairness, one should not be too derisive on the subject of the Fed chairman. That would be a bit like chiding a handmaiden to the whore of Babylon--merely there to do her bidding.

mdtrader's picture

S&P 500 spikes!

Mos's picture

Once you factor in "seasonal adjustments" it's not that bad.   I wish I could seasonally adjust my bank account and weight...

Anonymous's picture

nah, you're just getting caught up in the details. This will help 'poise us for more growth' in fact if we can just lay off 2-3 million more people just think how much we'll grow then! my goodness why stop there, lets raise the goods prices and pump money in, then we'll really grow!


deadhead's picture

Clearly, this is a victory for the bulls.

mdtrader's picture

They have taken at 38.2% fib, so if they close it above 1014 they will be happy. That sets up an early stab at Goldman's 1050 year end call, and opens up the possibilty of a run to the 50% retracement at 1120.



mdtrader's picture

Hey this will be interesting if they want the expiry to go out around 1000 on S&P's. Watch that eur/usd. If that suddenly turns around then you know what's going on!

Dixie Normous's picture

I was thinking the same thing, except I was thinking 1050 instead of 1000 because 1050 makes less sense.

Anonymous's picture

Look, guys. We ARE on the cusp of recovery. Recovery is a flatline.

When GDP growth is 0.1% (positive) for as far as the eye can see, then it becomes about levels. Not growth. Levels. The level of GDP. If the growth number, the 1st derivative, is almost zero, then "the worst is behind you", but it's also in front of you.

You guys have got to stop presuming the plunge is forever because it CAN'T be (until oil destroys the world). It can't be for the simple reason that a big chunk of industry is food. Food WILL be bought. Kraft, General Mills, Tyson . . . they will continue to have sales. They are the floor of GDP. (Again, not growth, GDP level).

So stop sneering at Bernanke. It is likely that indeed the "recovery" is near because flatline is near. What comes after that . . . is oil depletion's destruction of even that flatline.

Anonymous's picture

Unemployed people don't buy food.

Anonymous's picture

As long as all Americans have jobs at Kraft or on a farm, everything will work out.

Joe Sixpack's picture

First it has not even remotely plunged forever. We are down less than the stock market collapse in the great depression, but are on the same trajectory.

Second, people need some kind of money to buy food. And if all we produce is food, wht kind of world are we living in? And what kind of adjustments will we experience? Riots, wars, conflicts, it will be ugly.

Then, yes, we will have a steady GDP, but it will not be measurable because no one records black market transactions in silver, gold, and barter.


This is the potential if we do not solve the problem (I propose

Anonymous's picture

Anonymous 9:52, you REALLY need to sit down and have a talk with someone who lived through the Great Depression. The main takeaway point is: "Just when you think you've seen the worst, it gets worse!"
Or, to put it more succinctly: "Things can always get worse!"

The plunge doesn't have to literally be "forever" in order to destroy every remnant of the civilization you know. And yes, it can happen again/here/to us.

Anonymous's picture

IMO the wave of white collar layoffs is yet to hit. Many service industry firms have delayed mass layoffs to retain capacity in hopes of capturing marketshare in an economic turnaround in late 2009/early 2010. If the turnaround does not materialize then there will be no choice.

Project Mayhem's picture

i don't trust the seasonal adjusters

sigmadelta's picture
sigmadelta (not verified) Aug 21, 2009 2:55 PM

Who knows how long it goes on or how high the markets go before these bubbles burst?

good articles; good articles 4 slow news day ..http://www..
hat tip: finance news & finance opinions

Carina's picture

It's getting to the point where one can barely stomach watching the mainstream news even for the purpose of seeing how the idiots spin the stories.  Yahoo Finance reported "July existing home sales pace fastest in two years"! while failing to report that the inventory of existing homes rose by the same amount.  

Interestingly, Bloomberg initially reported the inventory jump in existing homes but, now if you look at their updated article, the "Inventory" section has been removed.

Seeking Alpha's breaking news update about mass layoffs used seasonally-adjusted figures:  "July Mass Layoffs: 2,157 layoff events (classified as 50+) that affected 207K workers. That's down 606 from June, but 622 higher than a year ago."

The data can be spun any way the spinner chooses.  Who trusts govt. data at any rate.....



Anonymous's picture

More frequent mass layoffs= S&P 1250
"Fewer bank Failures" = Green Trees
Swine Flu affecting 2 billion people= bullish Pharma

Anonymous's picture

Boom! Pow! Stocks charge higher (Money/CNN)

"Wall Street advances after existing home sales jump. Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 all touch new 2009 highs. Bernanke sees growth in near term."

Chumly's picture

The retail and even larger trading entities are pawns in a rigged game.  A casual non-playing observer would only have to read the daily whipsaw of market news to tell you that most participants are patsies.  One day the markets are down over “concerns” about the economy and the very next day it’s up over “hopeful signs” that the economy is getting better. 

This maniacal behavior displayed in an individual would have landed them in the Massillon State Hospital decades ago, but places like that hardly exist anymore.  We now have “behavioral rehabilitation centers” where nuts are given heavy doses of lithium and thrown out into society to ‘cope.”  Instead, the normal see all that goes on around them and wonder if it is not they themselves that have gone crazy. So it is with the “markets.”  It’s a maniacal rigged game.

If the gamers are gaming the participants then the house wins.  The FED and their enablers are a maniacal greedy sociopath rigging their own game.  They play a confidence game with their victims and in all their self-fulfilling grandeur they cannot see their own sickness. And as with most sociopaths, they do not care about their victim’s demise nor can they see their own destruction in the end.

Joe Sixpack's picture

They know the end is nigh, and are grabbing what they can while they can for as long as they can, to hell with everyone else.

Anonymous's picture

More frequent mass layoffs= S&P 1250
"Fewer bank failures" = green trees
Swine Flu affecting 2 billion people= thinning the herd= lower Government health care costs= 12000

TumblingDice's picture

The new normal has unemployment and S&P correlated.

mdtrader's picture

Actually it's not that unusual for economies and stock market to decouple. For instance 2007 the market kept on going up despite deteriorating economic conditions. 2003 the market kept going up when the economic data was bad, remember the jobless recovery.

perpetual-runner-up's picture

unless you have a perpetually weakening a global market (which is the difference this time) our relative price becomes cheaper in other currencies, hence they shift to dollars and buy our stocks given the underlying "value" is still the same internationally...

which is why the dollar will be weaker come election time next year, because a higher stock market is the only hope the dems have to retain seats (people dont realize their dolalr worth is evaporating)...


Unfortunately the pace at which this is happening is insane and unsustainable (the dow can t be at 20 next year), so this means it will have to correct severly (maybe the plan is to crash the economic #'s so they look good by comparison next year)...


I am rambleing now, but you get the point..

but day to day...this shit is crazy...

zanahorias's picture

It´s a recent fashion in big corporations to fire people in summer just to avoid the rest of the people notice.

During august you will think your mate is on holidays.


butchee's picture

"Even a hummingbird coundn't catch Tyler at work."  Tyler how do you do it?  You are amazing!  Every time I read post here or at shadowstats I want to go buy as many puts as I can afford, but then I remember..... the A-Holes in J-Hole have just informed that  recovery is nigh, or for all intents and purposes, here!

Anonymous's picture

fun to read but completely useless blog, considering removng it from my Favorites so that i need to type every time i have nothign else to do but browse the internet... maybe that wil keep me from coming here

Arco's picture

I think that the mass layoffs will get worse as companies attempt to manage to covenants. Companies are too highly leveraged and are desperately attempting to avert defaulting on loan agreements. Therefore, the only way is to make your covenant is to do mass layoffs. According to any loan agreement, you can adjust your EBITDA by not including any of the costs associated with the laid off people.

perpetual-runner-up's picture

layoffs are the new revenue increases...


just like the swine flu count we used to have, the daily layoff numebrs quit being covered when it started getting serious...

Anonymous's picture

Joblessness won't help the housing market:

Ultimately this brief "bounce" in home sales will run into the problems discussed above and, because the Fed and the Government tried to put a floor under the market, the ensuing next leg down will be even worse than what we went through over the past 18 months. It will be interesting to see if the Government decides to spend some of the trillions of dollars it's printing to become a home buyer of last resort (I say this only half-facetiously because I bet it's been discussed). Let's not forget that the taxpayer now owns outright or de facto General Motors, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Citibank and AIG. So in a way I, via FNM and FRE, the taxpayer is already monetizing the housing market.

Anonymous's picture

In bellweather RE markets, brokers are buying each other's best (most marketable) properties and re-listing them "for sale" 1-2 weeks later.

Check out Zillow in a place like SF, CA. >50% of recent sales are again listed "for sale".

This is how existing homes sales went up, while inventory also remained high.

RE biz (res. & comm.) is the sleaziest biz out there... one need only look behind the numbers for a minute or two to find the clumsiest attempts at pump/dump ever devised.