The Bureau of Labor Statistics just released data describing mass layoffs in July 2012. There were 1,340 layoff actions involving 127,092 private sector and 10,328 government workers (seasonally adjusted). The number of workers affected by the layoffs is based on new filings for unemployment insurance during July. Each layoff event involved at least 50 employees from the same employer.
Over the past three months there have been 35,820 government workers and 363,197 private sector workers filing for unemployment benefits as a result of mass layoffs. This represents a 30% decline in the number of government workers laid off compared to the same period in 2011. Mass layoffs in the private sector increased by 5% compared to 2011.
About one in 292 private sector workers experienced a mass layoff in the past three months compared to one in 427 government workers. In other words the typical private sector worker was 46% more likely to be part of a mass layoff than the typical government worker. At least when it comes to mass layoffs, it would be hard to conclude that the private sector is doing fine.