Employee Layoffs Can Often Lead to Employers Skimping on Safety, Increase in Work Injuries at North Carolina Job Sites

In June, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers took 1,532 mass layoff actions that affected 143,444 workers (seasonally adjusted). This figure was obtained by the number of new filings for unemployment insurance benefits. The criteria for a mass layoff means at least 50 workers from a single employer were involved.

Our North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers in Asheville and elsewhere know that often times when companies start laying off workers, cost cutting on safety isn’t far behind. Your employer has the obligation of providing you with a safe work environment in order to prevent Charlotte work accidents. Profits, or savings for that matter, should never get in the way of a worker’s safety.
June saw a decline in mass layoffs of 4 percent from May and the number of unemployment insurance claims decreased by 96. The manufacturing sector had 341 mass layoff events causing 35,693 unemployment insurance claims.

Despite that, the unemployment rate was relatively unchanged in June and is at 9.2 percent nationally. This is slightly better than the 9.5 percent it was a year ago. An increase of 18,000 was seen in June for non-farm payroll employment, which brings the total for the year to 1,036,000.

In June, the number of not seasonally adjusted mass layoff events was 1,661, creating 159,930 initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits. This was a decrease from June 2010, when there were 200 mass layoff events and claim filings were down by 11,260, or 7 percent.

Of the 19 major industry sectors, nine saw a decrease in unemployment insurance claims. The largest decline was in the accommodation and food services, construction and retail trade. In June the industry with the most amount of initial claims was elementary and secondary schools and roughly 14 percent of all mass layoff events and filed claims were in the manufacturing sector. This was a 3 percent decrease in layoffs and a 2 percent decline in claims from a year ago. The food and transportation equipment subsectors of manufacturing saw the largest number of claimants in June 2011. Of the 21 manufacturing subsectors, 12 had increasing in initial claim filings.

Regarding geographic distribution (Not Seasonally Adjusted) in June, 7 of the 9 geographical areas determined by the Bureau of Labor & Statistics and 3 of the 4 regions had declines in initial claim filings for unemployment insurance benefits as a result of mass layoffs. The Western region had the greatest over-the-year decline in initial claim filings. The Pacific division had the largest year long decrease in initial claims. The state with the largest number of mass layoffs claim filings was California, with Pennsylvania being next, followed by Texas and Florida.

In June, North Carolina saw 45 mass layoff events compared to 21 a year ago. There were 4,871 claims filed for unemployment insurance benefits compared to 2,378 from June 2010.

Most would agree that most of these layoffs were a result of financial decisions made by companies, states and cities. But what employees must consider is that financial restraints aren’t an excuse to cut back on safety measures. Every worker has the right to work in a safe environment, regardless of the economic situation of the employer.

If you are dealing with a work accident in North Carolina or a workers’ compensation or disability claim, contact the Lee Law Offices, P.A. today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:

Parental Communication about Work Dangers Can Reduce Teen Injuries at Work in Charlotte, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, August 2, 2011

Heat Stress at Work Can Lead to Long-Term Disabilities for North Carolina Workers, North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Blog, July 30, 2011

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