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Economic News Release
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Displaced Workers Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Thursday, August 27, 2020 	               USDL-20-1620

Technical information:  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
Media contact:  (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


                     WORKER DISPLACEMENT: 2017-19


From January 2017 through December 2019, there were 2.7 million workers
displaced from jobs they had held for at least 3 years, the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics reported today. This was down from 3.0 million
workers for the prior survey period covering January 2015 to December
2017. In January 2020, 70 percent of workers displaced from 2017 to 2019
were reemployed, up from 66 percent in January 2018.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Chief Evaluation Office sponsored the
January 2020 survey to collect information on workers who were displaced
from their jobs. Since 1984, these surveys have been conducted biennially 
in January as supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly
survey of households that is the primary source of information on the
nation's labor force.

Displaced workers are defined as persons 20 years of age and over who lost
or left jobs because their plant or company closed or moved, there was 
insufficient work for them to do, or their position or shift was abolished.
The period covered in this study was January 2017 to December 2019, the 3
calendar years prior to the January 2020 survey date. This period was
characterized by employment growth and declining unemployment. The following
analysis focuses primarily on the 2.7 million people who had worked for
their employer for 3 or more years at the time of displacement (referred 
to as long-tenured workers). An additional 3.7 million persons were displaced
from jobs they had held for less than 3 years (referred to as short-tenured
workers). Combining the short- and long-tenured groups, the number of
displaced workers totaled 6.3 million from 2017 to 2019. This is down from 
6.8 million for the 2015-17 survey period.

Highlights from the January 2020 survey:

  --In January 2020, 70 percent of the 2.7 million long-tenured displaced
    workers were reemployed, up from 66 percent in January 2018. (See table 1.)

  --Forty-one percent of long-tenured displaced workers from the 2017-19
    period cited that they lost their job because their plant or company
    closed down or moved; an additional 36 percent said that their position
    or shift was abolished, and 23 percent cited insufficient work. (See table 2.)

  --Seventeen percent of long-tenured displaced workers lost a job in
    manufacturing, and another 15 percent lost a job in professional and
    business services. (See table 4.)

  --Among long-tenured workers who were displaced from full-time wage and
    salary jobs and were reemployed in such jobs in January 2020, 65 percent
    had earnings that were as much or greater than those of their lost job,
    up from 51 percent for the prior survey. (See table 7.)

Characteristics of the Displaced

Seventy percent of the 2.7 million long-tenured displaced workers were reemployed
at the time of the survey in January 2020, up from 66 percent for the January 2018
survey. The proportion unemployed at the time of the most recent survey was 12
percent, little different from January 2018. Eighteen percent of long-tenured
displaced workers were not in the labor force in January 2020, also little changed
from the previous survey. (See table 1.)

In January 2020, the reemployment rate was 75 percent for workers ages 25 to 54,
little changed from the prior survey. Reemployment rates continued to be lower
for older workers; the rates for those ages 55 to 64 and 65 years and over were
67 percent and 44 percent, respectively. Among those age 65 and over, 49 percent
were no longer in the labor force when surveyed.

Among long-tenured displaced workers, men and women had similar reemployment rates
in January 2020 (72 percent and 68 percent, respectively). The reemployment rate
for men increased from the prior survey, while the rate for women changed little.
Long-tenured displaced men and women were about equally likely to be unemployed at
the time of the survey (12 percent and 13 percent, respectively). The share of
both male and female displaced workers who had left the labor force (16 percent 
and 20 percent, respectively) changed little from the prior survey. 

In January 2020, the reemployment rate for long-tenured displaced White workers
rose to 71 percent. The rates for Asians (74 percent), Hispanics (68 percent),
and Blacks (62 percent) changed little from the prior survey. Long-tenured displaced
Blacks were more likely than Whites and Hispanics to be unemployed in January 2020.

Reason for Job Loss and Receipt of Advance Notice

Of the 2.7 million long-tenured workers displaced during January 2017 through
December 2019, 41 percent lost or left their jobs due to plant or company closings
or moves. The proportion of displaced workers citing that their position or shift
was abolished was 36 percent, and the proportion citing insufficient work was 23 
percent. (See table 2.)

Forty-seven percent of long-tenured displaced workers in the January 2020 survey
received written advance notice that their jobs would be terminated, up from 43
percent for the January 2018 survey. Workers who lost jobs during the 2017-19 period
due to plant or company closings or moves continued to be the most likely to receive
written advance notice. Of this group, 60 percent received such notice. In contrast,
44 percent of workers who were displaced because their position or shift was abolished
and 29 percent of those who lost jobs due to insufficient work were notified in
advance. For each of these groups, reemployment rates were not statistically different
for those who received written advanced notice and those who did not. (See table 3.)
 
Industry and Occupation

During the 2017-19 survey reference period, 461,000 long-tenured manufacturing workers
were displaced from their jobs--17 percent of all long-tenured displaced workers. These
displacements occurred mostly in durable goods manufacturing (279,000). Workers in
professional and business services accounted for 15 percent of all long-tenured
displacements, and retail trade accounted for another 13 percent of all displacements.
(See table 4.)

In January 2020, the reemployment rates were not statistically different from January
2018 for most major industry groups. However, the reemployment rates for workers displaced
from retail trade (78 percent) and the information industry (80 percent) increased from
the prior survey. The rate declined for workers displaced from the health care and 
social assistance industry (67 percent). (Workers were not necessarily reemployed in
the same industries from which they were displaced.) 

By major occupational group, the reemployment rate increased to 71 percent for sales
and office occupations in January 2020. Reemployment rates for other major occupational
groups changed little from the prior survey. The January 2020 rates were 74 percent for
those displaced from management, professional, and related occupations; 70 percent for
service occupations; 66 percent for production, transportation, and material moving
occupations; and 59 percent for natural resources, construction, and maintenance
occupations. (See table 5.)

Geographic Divisions

Compared with the 2015-17 period, the number of long-tenured workers displaced during
the 2017-19 period declined for the South Atlantic and East South Central divisions, 
but changed little for the other geographic divisions of the United States. In January
2020, the reemployment rates increased to 82 percent for the Mountain division and 74
percent for East North Central division. The rate fell to 52 percent for the East South
Central division. (See table 6.)

Earnings

Of the 1.7 million long-tenured displaced workers who lost full-time wage and salary
jobs during the 2017-19 period and were reemployed in January 2020, 1.3 million had 
full-time wage and salary jobs in January 2020. Of the reemployed full-time workers 
who reported earnings on their lost job, the proportion that were earning as much or
more than they did at their lost job was 65 percent in January 2020, up from 51 percent
for the January 2018 survey. (See table 7.)

Total Displaced Workers (With No Tenure Restriction)

The total number of workers displaced between January 2017 and December 2019 (regardless
of how long they had held their jobs) was 6.3 million, down by 491,000 from the 2015-17
survey period. Of the total number of workers who lost jobs over the 2017-19 period, 71
percent were reemployed in January 2020, up from the January 2018 survey, and 15 percent
were unemployed, little different from the prior survey. (See table 8.)



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Last Modified Date: August 27, 2020