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5 Jobs With the Most Layoffs

Despite a slight dip in applications for unemployment benefits last week, the number of layoffs remains far higher than usual, Thursday’s data shows. And workers in a small handful of sectors continue to be the most likely to lose their jobs.

Dmitry Kalinovsky /

Initial claims filed for the week ending June 2 dropped 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 377,000, according to the Department of Labor. That was just a tad lower than the 380,000 economists expected. Construction counted for about 14% of unemployed employees filing claims followed by administrative assistant positions at about 12% as of April, the latest thorough data from the DOL.

For the most part, the industries with the most unemployment claims have a high number of positions for entry-level, low-skilled workers with high turnover, says Armen Bedroussian, economist at the Milken Institute. They’re also often seasonal positions as in the retail sector and car manufacturing. The number of temporary positions has risen since the recession, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their rise suggests that wild swings in initial claims will likely continue as job churning intensifies, says Dean Baker, co-director at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

To be sure, claims in many of these sectors are down from a year ago. And they represent a sliver of the jobs picture. Many of the industries that represent a large share of unemployment claims have also displayed net growth in payroll jobs in the past year, suggesting that employees are both hired and laid off simultaneously.

Here are the five industries that account for most claims, according to the most recent data.



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