Enacted in 1988, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining (WARN) Act mandates that employers meeting certain criteria give advance notice of layoffs and plant closures. Since the WARN Act was first passed, many states have passed their own, state-specific versions of the WARN Act. Recently, many newspapers have taken topline WARN Act data and used it to create searchable databases. The San Francisco Chronicle's WARN Act database allows users to search by layoff date, city and company name. The Sacramento Bee's database offers the same results (searchable by county/city or company name only) and also provides cumulative layoff totals by company name in a separate table. Both databases contain data for layoff notices reported during 2008 and 2009. If you are looking for data predating 2008, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) has posted reports back to 2000.
If you need more than topline data, review detailed WARN Act filings. The detailed filings for California provide the job titles of the affected positions, company contact information and whether the employees affected by the layoff or closure are unionized (if the employer provides this data.) Here is a link to a detailed filing for 2010. Keep in mind that many states, like California, publish WARN Act data on their statewide departments of labor websites. The Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth, for example, posts WARN notices from 2000 to present.