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The Recent Decline of Single Quarter Jobs

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  • Henry R. Hyatt
  • James R. Spletzer

Abstract

Rates of hiring and job separation fell by as much as a third in the U.S. between the late 1990s and the early 2010s. Half of this decline is associated with the declining incidence of jobs that start and end in the same calendar quarter, employment events that we call “single quarter jobs.” We investigate this unique subset of jobs and its decline using matched employer-employee data for the years 1996-2012. We characterize the worker demographics and employer characteristics of single quarter jobs, and demonstrate that changes over time in workforce and employer composition explain little of the decline in these jobs. We find that the decline in these jobs accounts for about a third of the decline in the fraction of the population that holds a job in the private sector that occurred from the mid 2000s to the early 2010s. We also find little evidence that single quarter jobs are stepping stones into longer-term employment. Finally, we show that the inclusion or exclusion of these single quarter jobs creates divergent trends in average earnings and the dispersion of earnings for the years 1996-2012. To the extent that administrative records measure the volatile tail of the employment distribution better thanconventional household surveys, these findings show that measurement of short duration jobs matters for economic analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Henry R. Hyatt & James R. Spletzer, 2015. "The Recent Decline of Single Quarter Jobs," Working Papers 15-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:15-05
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Raven Molloy & Christopher L. Smith & Abigail Wozniak, 2017. "Job Changing and the Decline in Long-Distance Migration in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(2), pages 631-653, April.
    2. Bachmann, Rüdiger & Bayer, Christian & Merkl, Christian & Seth, Stefan & Stüber, Heiko & Wellschmied, Felix, 2017. "Worker Churn and Employment Growth at the Establishment Level," IZA Discussion Papers 11063, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Katharine Abraham & John Haltiwanger & Kristin Sandusky & James Spletzer, 2017. "Measuring the Gig Economy: Current Knowledge and Open Issues," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring and Accounting for Innovation in the 21st Century National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Lalé, Etienne, 2019. "Search and Multiple Jobholding," IZA Discussion Papers 12294, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Hyatt, Henry R. & Spletzer, James R., 2017. "The recent decline of single quarter jobs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 166-176.
    6. Henry R. Hyatt & James R. Spletzer, 2016. "The Shifting Job Tenure Distribution†," Working Papers 16-12r, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    7. Hyatt, Henry R. & Spletzer, James R., 2016. "The shifting job tenure distribution," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 363-377.
    8. John C. Haltiwanger & Henry R. Hyatt & Lisa B. Kahn & Erika McEntarfer, 2018. "Cyclical Job Ladders by Firm Size and Firm Wage," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 52-85, April.
    9. Ruediger Bachmann & Christian Bayer & Christian Merkl & Stefan Seth & Heiko Stüber & Felix Wellschmied, 2017. "Worker Churn in the Cross Section and Over Time: New Evidence from Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 6702, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Bachmann, Rüdiger & Bayer, Christian & Merkl, Christian & Seth, Stefan & Stüber, Heiko & Wellschmied, Felix, 2017. "Job and worker flows: New stylized facts for Germany," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 02/2017, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.

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    JEL classification:

    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure

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