20 Must-Know Layoff Statistics [2023]: Who’s Being Terminated From Their Jobs

By Jack Flynn
Feb. 15, 2023

Research Summary: Everyone gets a little paranoid about being laid off sometimes. Whether you slept in and arrived a half hour late to work, or messed up big time on that new task you were supposed to learn, the thought of losing your job is a scary one.

But, how common are layoffs in the US? Luckily, we’ve investigated all of the essential facts about American layoffs, and according to our extensive research:

  • In 2022, there were 15.4 million layoffs in the U.S.

  • There were 6.9 million layoffs between August and December 2022.

  • 40% of Americans have been laid off or terminated from a job at least once.

  • 48% of Americans have layoff anxiety.

  • 28% of Americans have been laid off in the past two years alone.

For further analysis, we broke down the data in the following ways:
Over Time | Industry and Region | Startup | Demographics
In 2022, there were 15.4 million layoffs in the U.S.

Layoff Statistics Over Time

The number of layoffs that occur per year ebbs and flows based on the economy and other factors. For example, during a recession, we can expect layoffs to increase, while the opposite is true when there’s a shortage of labor. According to our research:

Annual U.S. Layoffs (2002 – 2022)

Year Separations
2002 23.6
2003 24.3
2004 23.7
2005 23.7
2006 22.3
2007 23.5
2008 25.4
2009 27.5
2010 22.6
2011 22.1
2012 22.2
2013 21
2014 21.1
2015 21.8
2016 21.2
2017 21.6
2018 21.8
2019 21.8
2020 41.7
2021 17
2022 15.4
  • 2009 was a hard year for Americans, with the housing market crash causing 11,824 layoff events.

    This led to 2.10 million separations, a number that wouldn’t yet be matched until 2020, when all of these numbers were blown out of the water. For example, in August of 2020 alone, there were 4.6 million job separations in the US.

  • 2005 had the least number of layoffs within recent years, with separations only reaching 884.6K.

    While that might seem like a lot, layoffs per year regularly reach several million now. In 2005, however, the number of separations didn’t even surpass 900,000.

Annual Total Layoffs

Layoff Statistics by Industry and Region

Different regions specialize in different industries, and that means certain areas are hit harder by economic recessions than others. According to our research:

2022 Total Layoffs In The U.S. By Region

Region Total Layoffs (millions)
Northeast 2.55
South 6.00
Midwest 3.28
West 3.53
  • The South saw the most layoffs in 2022, at 6 million.

    With more than double the number of layoffs compared to all other regions, the South has been hit especially hard by the pandemic and economic recession.

  • The Northeast saw the least layoffs in 2022, at 2.55 million.

    However, it’s still been a particularly bad year for all regions, as 2.55 million would easily surpass the total number of layoffs ten years ago, for example.

  • As of June 2022, the Midwest has the highest layoff rate of 1%.

    The Midwest just recently surpassed the layover rates of other regions, which hopefully means things might be looking up a bit for the south.

Total Layoffs By Industry (June 2021 to June 2022)

Industry Total Layoffs
Mining and logging 24K
Construction 783K
Manufacturing 603K
Durable goods 323K
Nondurable goods 281K
Trade, transportation, and utilities 1.46M
Wholesale trade 214K
Retail trade 834K
Transportation, warehousing, and utilities 414K
Information 159K
Financial activities 241K
Finance and insurance 160K
Real estate and rental and leasing 80K
Professional and business services 2.12M
Education and health services 841K
Educational services 136K
Health care and social assistance 705K
Leisure and hospitality 1.05M
Arts, entertainment, and recreation 366K
Accommodation and food services 687K
  • Between June 2021-June 2022 there have been 7.736 million private industry layoffs.

    That’s over 5X more layoffs than 2012, when there were only 1.27 million total layoffs. Of course, the pandemic is still having an effect on the job market, even two years after 2020.

  • The industry with the most layoffs in 2022 has been Professional and Business Services with 2.12 million layoffs.

    Other industries that surpassed more than a million layoffs include: Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (1.46 million), and Leisure and Hospitality (1.05 million).

  • The Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation industry has had the highest layoff rate, reaching 3% in May 2022.

    By contrast, the industry with the lowest layoff rate was State and Local Education, at only 0.3%.

Startup Layoff Statistics

Startups can be especially vulnerable to layoffs. Sometimes all it takes is one investor pulling out, or one bad idea to completely tank one. According to our research:

Layoffs In Startups

Year Layoff events Layoffs
Q1 2020 121 9,628
Q2 2020 427 60,122
Q3 2020 61 9,690
Q4 2020 23 1,509
Q1 2021 21 6,928
Q2 2021 6 2,695
Q3 2021 9 2,108
Q4 2021 6 3,292
Q1 2022 31 9,829
Q2 2022 289 37,463
Q3 2022 236 23,158
  • Q2 of 2020 saw the most startup layoffs, with over 60,000 new employees being let go.

    Startups can be a risky business, and that’s showcased by the fact that over 60,000 new employees lost their jobs in Q2 of 2020. In fact, Q2 and Q3 of 2022 haven’t been much better, with 37,463 and 23,158 new layoffs respectively.

    Startup Layoffs By Industry

    Industry Total Startup Layoffs (2022)
    Food 10,896
    Transportation 8,516
    Retail 6,385
    Finance 6,186
    Real Estate 5,505
    Healthcare 6,359
    Education 4,149
    Crypto 3,810
    Fitness 4,141
    Consumer 1,806
    Travel 668
    Construction 210
  • Food industry startups have seen the most layoffs in 2022, at over 10,000.

    While the Transportation industry was the hardest hit in 2020, the Food industry has taken up the mantle two years later. As of 2022, the food industry has had 28% more startup failures than the transportation industry.

  • Construction industry startup layoffs are at an all-time low of 210.

    The Construction industry currently has the lowest number of layoffs, but Travel industry startup layoffs have also been low this year, at only 668.

  • Between 2020-2022 Travel industry startup layoffs decreased by 95%.

    In 2020 there were a whopping 13,983 Travel industry startup layoffs. However, as of 2022, that number has dropped to only 668.

Layoff Statistics by Demographics

Just as the impact of layoffs can vary by region, they can also vary based on demographics. For instance, our research shows that:

  • 61% of adults between 18-34 have layoff anxiety.

    Young adults are far more likely to have layoff anxiety, with the majority experiencing it. On the other hand, 41% of adults 35 or older have layoff anxiety. Which, while being a smaller percentage, is still a large portion of the population.

  • 51% of employees between 18-34 feel unprepared for a layoff.

    That’s just above the overall average of 47%, and far above the 30% of those over 55 who feel unprepared for a layoff. Once again the youngest workers find themselves most affected by layoffs.

  • Men are 25% more likely to be laid off than women.

    Overall, 45% of men report that they’ve been laid off compared to only 36% of women. Further, 12% of men have been laid off three or more times, compared to 4% of women.

  • Only 36% of those with a college degree have been laid off.

    A higher education level leads to a lower likelihood of being laid off. For example, 52% of those with some college have been laid off, and 53% of those with only a High School degree have been laid off.

Layoff Statistics FAQ

  1. How common are layoffs?

    Layoffs are very common in the US, with 40% of Americans being laid off at least once. Often, employees aren’t let go due to poor performance, but simply due to factors out of their control. For example, if a company is downsizing they might choose to close stores, or if you’ve been hired for seasonal work you can expect to be let go at the end of the season.

    However, that doesn’t mean everyone is impacted by layoffs equally. Younger demographics (18-34), and men are more likely to be let go. In fact, men are 25% more likely to be laid off than women.

  2. What month do most layoffs occur?

    Layoffs are most likely to occur in December or January. December accounts for 12.6% of all layoffs on average, while January accounts for 12.2%. No other month exceeds 10%, and in fact, August has the lowest percentage of layoffs at only 5.3%

  3. Who gets cut first in layoffs?

    The first to get cut during a layoff will usually be the newest employees. This could be the employee that started yesterday at a company with high turnover, or one that started two years ago if other employees have been with the company for 10+ years.

    Job function can also play a role in who gets cut first, as jobs that can be outsourced or taken over by AI are particularly susceptible to layoffs.

  4. What are the signs of layoffs?

    There are at least 10 signs you should look out for if you’re worried about layoffs. These include:

    • Being left out of projects

    • Nonessential budgets being reduced or cut entirely

    • New products, projects, and expansions being postponed or canceled

    • Your company was recently part of a merger

    • Your boss appears more stressed than normal

    • There’s a hiring freeze

    • Executives are resigning in concerning numbers

    • The company wishes to restructure

    • Your boss or HR is asking you lots of questions about what you do

    • The company is struggling financially


Layoff anxiety is real, and given that 40% of Americans have been laid off at least once, there’s a reason why we experience it. In 2021 alone there were 17 million layoffs in the US.

However, not all regions, industries, and demographics are equal when it comes to layoffs. The South has been hit especially hard in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, just as jobs in the Professional and Business Services, Trade, Transportation, and Utilities, and Leisure and Hospitality industries have as well. All together losing millions of employees.

However, despite growing layoff anxiety, there are ways you can secure your job. For example, finding jobs with low automation and outsourcing risk, as well as staying in the same job for several years, can significantly decrease your chances of being let go.


  1. BLS. “Job openings and quits reach record highs in 2021, layoffs and discharges fall to record lows.” Accessed on August 15th, 2022.

  2. PRN. “Study Finds Nearly Half of Employees Experience Layoff Anxiety Despite Record Low Unemployment Rates and Upward Economic Growth.” Accessed on August 15th, 2022.

  3. BLS. “Mass Layoff Statistics.” Accessed on August 15th, 2022.

  4. BLS. “Number of job separations decreased to 4.6 million in August 2020.” Accessed on August 15th, 2022.

  5. BLS. “Table 5. Layoffs and discharges levels and rates by industry and region, seasonally adjusted.” Accessed on August 15th, 2022.

  6. Layoffs. “Layoffs.fyi Tracker.” Accessed on August 15th, 2022.

  7. TLNT. “Younger Workers Fear Layoff More Because They Are Prepared Less.” Accessed on August 15th, 2022.

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Jack Flynn

Jack Flynn is a writer for Zippia. In his professional career he’s written over 100 research papers, articles and blog posts. Some of his most popular published works include his writing about economic terms and research into job classifications. Jack received his BS from Hampshire College.

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