The number of mass layoffs by U.S. employers fell for a third straight month in September as the manufacturing sector laid off fewer workers, a government report showed.
The Labor Department said the number of mass layoff actions — defined as job cuts involving at least 50 people from a single employer — decreased by 60 to 1,486, the lowest level since May. A total of 133,379 workers were affected.
Last month, 345 mass layoff events were reported in manufacturing, down 58 from August. The actions resulted in 34,168 workers filing claims for state unemployment benefits.
Private sector mass layoffs fell by 70 to 1,289 in September, affecting 115,598 workers.
The labor market is struggling to gain traction as economic growth remains subdued. While private payrolls have grown every month since January, the pace of job creation has been too anemic to make any impact on a 9.6% unemployment rate.
The Federal Reserve has singled out high unemployment as one area of concern and officials at the U.S. central Bank have signaled their readiness to ease monetary policy again at the November 2-3 meeting, to drive borrowing costs down further and stimulate spending.