What A Layoff Means, Plus Statistics And An Example

Laid off. Fired. Sacked. Let go. No matter which words you use to describe losing your job, it can be a complicated and stressful situation—not to mention downright upsetting.

Though the terms surrounding unemployment are often used interchangeably, they’re not synonyms. You might not think the language matters all that much as the end result is the same: You’re still out of work. But the fact is, the difference between being laid off and getting fired can have a significant impact on your finances as well as your future job search.

If you’re having trouble processing this turbulent and often traumatic life event, here’s one thing you’ll need to understand to help you get through it: Were you actually laid off or fired?

What Does Furloughed Mean?

Being furloughed means you are still employed by the company you work for, but you cannot work and cannot receive pay. The difference between being furloughed and being laid off is that a laid-off employee would have to be rehired to work for the company again. If you are furloughed, you may still receive employee benefits and you may be eligible for unemployment during this time. Again, it’s important to talk to your HR department and research your state’s website for more information.

If you are currently furloughed, you can look for side gigs and contract work for income. Reach out to your network connections and find out if some of their businesses are looking for contract workers during this time. There are also some good websites, such as Upwork.com, that make it easy to find contract work. [


What Is a Layoff?

A layoff is the temporary or permanent termination of employment by an employer for reasons unrelated to the employees performance.

Employees may be laid off when companies aim to cut costs, due to a decline in demand for their products or services, seasonal closure, or during an economic downturn. When laid off, employees lose all wages and company benefits but qualify for unemployment insurance or compensation.

Laid-off employees often do not lose their investment in company retirement plans such as a 401K and may be entitled to a severance package.

  • A layoff is an involuntary separation from work through no fault of employees, often initiated by the employer for economic reasons to cut costs.
  • A layoff differs from a firing for cause such as unacceptable workplace behavior, which generally does not qualify the fired worker for unemployment insurance.
  • Mass layoffs can damage the economies of the surrounding communities, especially those dependent on a single employer or industry.
  • Some employers may offer severance agreements to laid-off workers.
  • Layoff Statistics

    Because financial markets participants care most about total employment, they tend to overlook layoff statistics in favor of the fresher monthly data on nonfarm payrolls and the unemployment rate

    The monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), also from BLS, provides a combined count for layoffs and discharges—involuntary separations from employment, whether as a result of layoffs or for cause. In June 2022, BLS reported layoffs and discharges declined by 170,000 to 1.2 million in April 2022, the lowest monthly total in series history dating back to December 2000. In April 2022, layoffs and discharges affected 0.8% of the labor force.

    Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc., a provider of career outplacement services, publishes a monthly report on layoffs announcements. In May 2022, it tallied 24,286 announced job cuts by U.S. employers in April 2022, a 14% increase from March and a 6% rise from a year earlier. Despite the increase, the nearly 80,000 job cuts announced by employers during the first four months of 2022 represented the lowest January through April total in the history of the survey dating back to 1993.

    Laid Off From Work? Here’s 7 Things To Do ASAP


    What does it mean when someone gets laid off?

    The key difference between being laid off vs. getting fired is that a layoff is the fault of an employer while a firing occurs because of the employee’s fault. Most workers get laid off because the company is trying to cut costs, reduce the staff, or due to mergers and acquisitions.

    Is it better to quit or be laid off?

    What Does It Mean to Be Laid Off? Getting laid off happens when your employer needs to let go of team members, usually because of hard economic times. Layoffs can also happen when companies restructure or merge with another company, eliminating certain positions.

    What happens when you get laid off?

    Resigning from a job has some advantages worth considering. One of the biggest perks is that it looks better on your resume than being fired. If you voluntarily leave a job, you tend to have greater control over your narrative. You can showcase your departure in a more positive light to prospective employers.

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