Related BLS programs | Related articles
May 1991, Vol. 114, No. 5
Diane E. Herz
W orker displacement is often considered a symptom of poor economic times. While large job losses are expected during recessionary periods, far fewer are expected during expansionary ones. Data for the 1980's show that, while workers had lost more jobs during the recessionary years early in the decade than during the subsequent expansion, displacements were not uncommon even during years of rapid economic growth. This reflects the fact that in any dynamic economy, some industries may experience widespread declines (or expansions), while others may experience less dramatic changes. In the latter years of the decade, some employers were forced to curtail operations even though overall economic conditions are favorable.
The years 1985 through 1989 marked the third through seventh years of continuous economic expansion in the United States. Over the period, total employment expanded by 11.7 million.1 At the same time, however, 4.3 million workers who had been with their employers for at least 3 years lost their jobs because their plants or businesses closed down or moved, their positions or shifts were abolished, or not enough work was available for them to do. The 4.3 million compared with 5.1 million workers reported displaced during an earlier survey period that included the recessions of 1980 and 1981-82. Of the 4.3 million workers displaced in recent years, 72 percent were reemployed when surveyed in January 1990. This was considerable improvement over the 60-percent reemployment rate found among those displaced in the early 1980's.
This excerpt is from an article published in the May 1991 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.
Read abstract Download full text in PDF (459K)
1 Employment changes are for the period December 1984 through January 1990. That period coincides with the January 1990 displaced worker survey reference period.
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers