New Jersey employers took 585 mass layoff actions in 2011, the second-highest total in the history of the report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A mass layoff event has been defined as "fifty or more inital claims for unemployment insurance benefits filed against an employer during a five-week period, regardless of duration."

The mass layoffs resulted in the separation of 66,811 workers. The number of claims rose by 5,413 over the year.

"This is indicating that the recovery was not getting a lot of momentum in New Jersey in 2011," said Martin Kohli, Regional Economist for the Bureau.

He noted the state's unemployment rate remained higher than the national average.

Of all the industry sectors in New Jersey, transportation and warehousing experienced the most mass layoff events in 2011, with 128. The industry with the largest count of initial claimants was accomodation and food services.