September 15, 2011
Business Employment Dynamics (BED)—which measure establishment-level net changes in employment—gross job gains fell from 7,670,000 in the fourth quarter of 2007 to 5,783,000 in the first quarter of 2009, a 24.6-percent decline. (The National Bureau of Economic Research dated the most recent recession as having begun in the fourth quarter of 2007 and ended in the second quarter of 2009).
BED gross job losses rose from 7,384,000 to 8,524,000 from the fourth quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of 2009 (a 15.4-percent increase).
From the fourth quarter of 2007 to the first quarter of 2009, the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS)—which measures the number of workers hired into jobs and the number of workers separated from their employer—measure of hires fell by 24.5 percent, from 14,472,000 at the beginning of the period to 10,925,000 at the end, and the JOLTS measure of separations fell by 7.3 percent, from 14,215,000 to 13,173,000.
From the first quarter of 2009 to the second quarter of 2010, gross job losses fell by 2,317,000 (from 8,524,000 to 6,207,000, a 27.2-percent decrease) and gross job gains rose by 1,152,000 (from 5,783,000 to 6,935,000, a 19.9-percent increase).
From the first quarter of 2009 to the second quarter of 2010, the measure of separations fell by 19.8 percent (from 13,173,000 to 10,566,000), and the measure of hires fell by 0.4 percent (from 10,925,000 to 10,886,000).
These data are from the Business Employment Dynamics and Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey programs. Analyzed together, BED and JOLTS statistics increase our understanding of employment dynamics in recessions. To learn more, see "Employment dynamics over the last decade" (PDF), by Caryn N. Bruyere, Guy L. Podgornik, and James R. Spletzer in the August 2011 issue of the Monthly Labor Review.