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October, 1986, Vol. 109, No. 10
European job creation in the wake of
plant closing and layoffs
Over the past decade, millions of American workers lost their jobs through plant closings and work force reductions. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, between January 1979 and January 1984, 11.5 million adult workers were laid off because of plant shutdowns or relocations, abolition of shifts or positions, or slack work. Nearly 5.1 million of these people were considered displaced, having held their former jobs for 3 years or more.1
By January 1984, 1.3 million of these workers were still unemployed, and of those, 500,000 had been out of work for 27 weeks or more.2 Hundreds of thousands more had taken pay cuts and part-time jobs simply to regain employment.
Europe, too, has undergone a massive economic shakeout over the past few years, generating little or no employment growth (in contrast to the increase in jobs in the United States). At the end of 1984, unemployment rates were at double-digit levels in the Netherlands (15 percent), Great Britain (13 percent), and France (10 percent).3 This economic turmoil has drastically affected certain communities as well. Particularly in the United Kingdom, areas characterized by "mono-industrialism" suffered unemployment levels far above 20 percent.
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1 Technology and Structural Unemployment: Re-employing Displaced Adults, OTA-ITE-250 (U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, 1986), p. 1
2 Ibid, p. 7.
3 Corporation for Enterprise Development, Job Creation In The Wake of Plant Closings (Washington, 1985), p. 1.
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