The Multinational Monitor


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1982 Plant Closures Affect 1.2 Million Workers

Last year more than 1.2 million American workers lost their jobs as the result of nearly 2,700 incidents of plant shutdowns, according to the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based publisher of specialized information. The figures appear in BNA's 1982 summary of its publication "Layoffs, Plant Closings and Concession Bargaining.".

The most severely affected region was the area encompassing Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, where nearly 323,000 workers lost their jobs last year. The state with the highest number of layoffs was Pennsylvania, with more than 146,000 workers affected. Illinois ranked second, with 95,000.

The BNA study found that:

  • among the 2,700 shutdowns were 600 permanent plant closures, affecting 215,000 workers;
  • the worst-hit industry was the transportation equipment industry, which had more than 400 layoffs affecting 416,000 workers;
  • other industries with high numbers of closures were metals manufacturing, steel, and electrical and non-electrical machinery producers. "The slump in the auto industry had a direct impact on metals manufacturing where there was also severe economic dislocation," states the report;
  • the industry with the highest number of plant closures (47) was apparel and textiles; in addition 98 retail stores and 48 mines were permanently closed;
  • in 27 situations, plants were closed despite concessions by a union;
  • among the larger plant closings were the General Motors shutdowns at Fremont and South Gate in California, where nearly 20,000 workers were laid off, the closing of the U.S. Steel facility at Fairfield, Alabama, which put 2,000 people out of work, and the permanent closing of the Republic Steel facility in Canton Massillon, Ohio, which affected 3,400 workers.

BNA's quarterly reports on plant closures cost $10.00; the annual report, $20.00. They are available from BNA's Customer Service and Distribution Center, 9401 Decoverly Hall Road, Rockville, Maryland 20854.

Layoffs by State (Top Ten)

State Total Workers Affected Unemployment Rate (12/82)
Pennsylvania 146,225 12.5
Illinois 95,204 12.6
Ohio 92,242 14.1
Indiana 65,927 12.9
New York 49,936 8.6
Michigan 49,481 17.3
Maryland 43,927 7.9
Massachusetts 38,937 7.1
North Carolina 36,779 9.0

Source: Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.

Plant Closures by State (Top Ten)

State Shutdowns Workers   Affected
North Carolina 61 7,609
Ohio 58 18,006
Pennsylvania 45 15,679
California 32 16,789
New York 29 5,381
Illinois 28 8,701
Michigan 25 6,877
Indiana 21 11,231
Massachusetts 21 8,654
West Virginia 16 5,264
Source: Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.

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