WASHINGTON (6/24/13)--U.S. mass layoffs rose in May and initial claims for unemployment benefits increased last week, with job growth still occurring--albeit at an uneven, diminished pace (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Moody's Economy.com June 20).
Mass layoffs involve 50 or more workers from the same company laid off around the same time, according to the Labor Department.
Last month, U.S. employers implemented 1,301 mass-layoff actions affecting 127,821 workers--up from 1,199 mass layoffs of 116, 849 workers in April.
Initial unemployment claims for the week ended June 15 increased 18,000--to a seasonally adjusted 354,000, the Labor Department said.
The four-week moving average of claims--which smooths out weekly volatility, went up 2,500 to 348,250.
In May, the unemployment rate inched up to 7.6%, from 7.5% in April, with more people trying to enter the work force, the Journal said.
That is noteworthy because the Federal Reserve uses a 6.5% unemployment rate as one of its benchmarks for changes in interest rates and its bond-buying monetary policy.