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The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same: Trends in Long-term Employment in the United States, 1969-2002

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  • Ann Huff Stevens

Abstract

This study considers whether there has been a decline in the attachment of workers and firms in the United States over the past several decades. Specifically, it compares snapshots of job tenure taken at the end of workers' careers from 1969 to 2002, using data from the Retirement History Survey, the National Longitudinal Survey of Older Men, and the Health and Retirement Study. The primary finding is one of stability in the prevalence of long-term employment relationships for men in the United States. In 1969, average tenure in the longest job for males aged 58-62 was 21.9 years. In 2002, the comparable figure was 21.4 years. Just over half of men ending their careers in 1969 had been with a single employer for at least 20 years; the same is true in 2002. This finding is robust to adjustments for minor differences in question details across data sources and for educational and retirement age changes over this time period.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11878.

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Date of creation: Dec 2005
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11878

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  1. Leora Friedberg & Michael Owyang, 2004. "Explaining the Evolution of Pension Structure and Job Tenure," NBER Working Papers 10714, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ureta, Manuelita, 1992. "The Importance of Lifetime Jobs in the U.S. Economy, Revisited," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 322-35, March.
  3. John Bound & Sarah Turner, 2002. "Going to War and Going to College: Did World War II and the G.I. Bill Increase Educational Attainment for Returning Veterans?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 784-815, October.
  4. Robert E. Hall, 1984. "The Importance of Lifetime Jobs in the U.S. Economy," NBER Working Papers 0560, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jaeger, David A. & Stevens, Ann Huff, 1999. "Is Job Stability in the United States Falling?," IZA Discussion Papers 35, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Diebold, Francis X & Neumark, David & Polsky, Daniel, 1997. "Job Stability in the United States," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 206-33, April.
  7. Joseph F. Quinn, 1999. "Has the Early Retirement Trend Reversed?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 424, Boston College Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Rokkanen, Miikka & Uusitalo, Roope, 2010. "Changes in Job Stability: Evidence from Lifetime Job Histories," IZA Discussion Papers 4721, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00588316 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00646595 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Henry S. Farber, 2008. "Job Loss and the Decline in Job Security in the United States," Working Papers 1055, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  5. Henry S. Farber, 2010. "Job Loss and the Decline in Job Security in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Labor in the New Economy, pages 223-262 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Henry S. Farber, 2008. "Employment Insecurity: The Decline in Worker-Firm Attachment in the United States," Working Papers 1056, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
  7. Bernhardt, Annette, 2014. "Labor Standards and the Reorganization of Work: Gaps in Data and Research," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt3hc6t3d5, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  8. Behaghel, Luc & Moschion, Julie, 2012. "Skilled Labor Supply, IT-Based Technical Change and Job Instability," IZA Discussion Papers 6839, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 2009. "The Rising Instability of U.S. Earnings," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(4), pages 3-24, Fall.

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