Have Employment Relationships in the United States Become Less Stable?
There has been considerable debate as to whether job stability has declined in the United States. This paper uses data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to examine the incidence of labor market turnover between 1986 and 1993. Specifically, we calculate one- and two-year separation rates and then analyze turnover by the source of separation. We find that the incidence of job separations did not increase over the period under investigation, but appears to have declined somewhat. The only deviation from this overall trend occurs for workers between 56 and 65 years of age who experienced increased separation rates. When analyzing separations by reason, we find a decrease in voluntary inter-firm mobility from 1986 to 1992 with a slight upturn in 1993 and no clear pattern for involuntary separations. Therefore, we do not find conclusive evidence that employment relationships have become more unstable in the recent past.
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