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MLS Program Description

The Mass Layoff Statistics (MLS) program is a Federal-State initiative that identifies, describes and tracks large job cutbacks. We report mass layoffs and closures in Illinois in which at least 50 workers were separated involuntarily by their employer for more than 30 days.

Establishments that had 50 or more Unemployment Insurance (UI) initial claims filed against them within a five-week period are identified as having potential mass layoffs or closures. Once identified, employers are contacted by phone to determine the precise location, time period, size, duration, and reason for the layoff or closure, the establishment's open/close status, as well as, worker recall plans, if any.

Layoffs that include at least 50 workers separated and last more than 30 days are considered to be extended layoffs. Extended layoffs may include workers who were expected to be recalled sometime later as well as workers who were laid off permanently. Layoffs that lasted fewer than 31 days are considered to be temporary. As discussed above, information on the size and duration of layoffs is collected directly from employers and not UI administrative records. 

Beginning in January 2004, the MLS program ceased employer contacts for layoffs in government and agricultural industries. This change was implemented in response to federal budget cuts. As a result, data on extended mass layoffs in government and agricultural industries are not available for 2004 and later years.

However, we continue to report monthly layoffs in government and agricultural industries. These monthly reports show the number of potential mass layoffs that were identified (including the total number of UI initial claims filed) prior to employer contacts. The monthly reports include data for both temporary and extended layoffs. 

We also link UI claimant records with other data sources, such as quarterly wage records and Employment Service applicant records. These linkages allow us to report not only the socioeconomic characteristics of UI claimants, including age, race, gender, industry occupation, and educational level but also their post-layoff employment status and earnings. See the "Post-Layoff Employment Status, Earnings" section on Mass Layoff Statistics.

MLS data are available quarterly and annually for the State, Metropolitan Areas and, upon request, counties.

Please contact the MLS program specialist​ if you have questions or would like to request data not presented here.​