A Record High Number of MN Workers Have Been Affected by Mass Layoffs So Far in 2018
Minnesota’s unemployment rate has been steadily better than the national average, and in May it reached 3.1 percent, its lowest mark since July 2000. However, data on mass layoffs in the state this year paints a decidedly less positive picture.
In the first five months of 2018 alone, more than 6,000 local workers have been affected by mass layoffs, according to records from the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development—the most of any year since record-keeping on mass layoffs began in 2014.
By law, businesses are required to inform the state whenever there are plans to let go of 50 or more employees. Businesses laying off less than 50 employees, however, do not need to report their plans as it does not qualify as a mass layoff.
This number of people impacted by mass layoffs in 2018 so far marks a significant uptick from previous years, as pointed out by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
Roughly as many employees have been a part of mass layoffs in the first five months of 2018 as there were in all of 2014.
This year’s mass layoff number of more than 6,000 workers also has 2015, 2016, and 2017 beat. The last two years, in particular, amount to about half of what has been experienced in 2018 so far.
As the Federal Reserve Bank suggested, one possible reason for the recent spike in mass layoffs is the amount of closures of large national retailers, including the bankruptcy liquidation of Bon-Ton – which owned 14 Herberger’s stores and two Younker’s stores in Minnesota, in addition to stores elsewhere; Toys “R” Us; and Sears Holdings Corp., which is shuttering one Kmart store and two Sears stores around the state.
If the trend for this year continues, the number of workers affected by mass layoffs could top 13,000, surpassing the record from 2015 when over 10,000 people were let go en masse.