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February, 1986, Vol. 109, No. 2
Employment and unemployment:
developments in 1985
Employment continued to increase in 1985, as the economy completed its third year of recovery from the 1981-82 recession. However, job growth slowed from the rapid pace recorded in the previous 2 yearsa moderation that is typical in the third year after a business cycle trough.1 Construction, as well as most industries in the service-producing sector, showed robust job gains throughout the year. In contrast, manufacturing employment, which had rebounded during 1983 and most of 1984, decreased in 1985especially in the durable goods industries.
The civilian unemployment rate edged down in the second half of the year to 7.0 percent in the fourth quarter. The jobless rate had declined sharply in the first year and a half of recovery, then leveled off at about 7.3 percent percent from mid-1984 to mid-1985. By the fourth quarter of 1985, jobless rates for most worker groups had fallen to or below those of the July 1981 prerecession peak but remained above those in 1979the last year that the unemployment rate had averaged less than 6 percent. All of the decline in unemployment during 1985 took place among adult workers.
This article describes labor market developments in 1985 for major age-sex, race-ethnic, industrial, and occupational groups. It also examines the performance of key employment and unemployment indicators in cyclical terms and evaluates selected developments from a secular perspective. Data discussed in this article come from two sources: household interviews and reports from employers.2 Unless otherwise noted, over-the-year changes are based on fourth quarter-to-fourth quarter movements, and all data are seasonally adjusted.
This excerpt is from an article published in the February 1986 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 Business cycle peaks and troughs are designated by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The three most recent recessions extended from the following peak-to-trough dates: November 1973-March 1975, January 1980-July 1980, and July 1981-November 1982.
2 The Current Population Survey gathers data monthly from a sample of about 60,000 households and provides information on the labor force, employment, and unemployment by demographic and economic characteristics. The Current Employment Statistics program is a monthly survey of approximately 280,000 nonagricultural establishments and provides information on the number of persons on business payrolls, as well as on average hours and earnings.
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Current Population Survey
Current Employment Statistics (National)
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