January 2014

Examination of state-level labor turnover survey data


· Other separations—terminations of employment because of discharge, permanent disability, death, retirement, transfers to another establishment of the company, and entrance into the Armed Forces for a period expected to last more than 30 consecutive days. Other separations were not published separately but were included in total separations.


Data produced by the LTS were examined for Florida, Michigan, New York, Oregon, and Virginia. These states were chosen based on the length of their LTS series, continuity of series, and the geographic representation.

Note that the use of LTS data has some limitations. Individual states prepared and benchmarked their own data and had differing industrial and geographic stratification methods that may affect state-to-state comparisons.12 Also, in some cases, data points are missing. In order to have a complete series, missing data points were estimated by using the preliminary data values where available. The state LTS data are available on a not seasonally adjusted basis only. Seasonal adjustment of the series was performed to remove the seasonal fluctuations in the data and examine the underlying trend. Current Employment Statistics (CES) state manufacturing data were also not seasonally adjusted during this period. For this article, the CES state data used in this analysis were seasonally adjusted. Finally, because of the length of the time series, methodological changes occurred throughout the survey. For example, in January 1959, the LTS began including transfers from another establishment of the company as separations and accessions.13 Data prior to this time did not.

The U.S. economy experienced overall growth during the postwar years from 1946 through the 1960s. The four recessions that occurred during this period were relatively short and mild and were affected by decreases in the money supply, fluctuating government spending, and a 1959 steel strike. The last of these recessions from April 1960 to February1961 was followed by a long period of economic expansion. Another mild recession occurred from December 1969 through November 1970 because the Federal Reserve reduced the money supply. That recession was followed by a deeper recession that lasted from November 1973 through March 1975. This later recession correlated with increased oil prices caused by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) oil embargo beginning in October 1973, resulting in lower real income and increased production costs. A short 6-month recession occurred from January 1980 to July 1980, again due to increasing oil prices because of the Iranian revolution. The deepest recession during this timeframe then occurred from July 1981 through November 1982 and resulted from a decrease in money supply by the Federal Reserve.14 The LTS program was discontinued in November 1981, but those states with available data through that point show the initial effects of that recession on labor demand.

The time series for Florida, Oregon, and Virginia encompass expansions and contractions for the four recessions from April 1960 to July 1980. New York also covers this period in addition to the earlier recession that began in August 1957 and ended April 1958. The time series for Michigan covers three recessions from December 1969 through July 1980.


12 Ibid., p. 217.

13 Ibid., p. 214.

14 Todd A. Knoop, Recessions and Depressions: Understanding Business Cycles, 2nd ed. (Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger ABC-CLIO, 2010), Chapter 12.

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About the Author

Katherine Bauer

Katherine Bauer is an economist in the Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.