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The Recent Decline of Single Quarter Jobs

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  • Hyatt, Henry R.

    (U.S. Census Bureau)

  • Spletzer, James R.

    (U.S. Census Bureau)

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 than conventional household surveys, these findings show that measurement of short duration jobs matters for economic analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Hyatt, Henry R. & Spletzer, James R., 2015. "The Recent Decline of Single Quarter Jobs," IZA Discussion Papers 8805, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8805
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Matteo Picchio & Mattia Filomena, 2021. "Are Temporary Jobs Stepping Stones Or Dead Ends? A Meta-Analytical Review Of The Literature," Working Papers 455, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
    3. Hyatt, Henry R. & Spletzer, James R., 2016. "The shifting job tenure distribution," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 363-377.
    4. Olena Kostyshyna & Etienne Lalé, 2019. "On the Evolution of Multiple Jobholding in Canada," Staff Working Papers 19-49, Bank of Canada.
    5. Bachmann, Rüdiger & Bayer, Christian & Merkl, Christian & Seth, Stefan & Stüber, Heiko & Wellschmied, Felix, 2021. "Worker churn in the cross section and over time: New evidence from Germany," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 781-797.
    6. 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).
    7. Haltiwanger, John C. & Spletzer, James R., 2020. "Between Firm Changes in Earnings Inequality: The Dominant Role of Industry Effects," IZA Discussion Papers 12990, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Hyatt, Henry R. & Spletzer, James R., 2017. "The recent decline of single quarter jobs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 166-176.
    9. 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.
    10. Satoshi Tanaka & Lawrence Warren & David Wiczer, 2020. "Earnings Growth, Job Flows and Churn," Working Papers 20-15, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    11. 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.
    12. Katharine G. Abraham & John C. Haltiwanger & Kristin Sandusky & James R. Spletzer, 2017. "Measuring the Gig Economy: Current Knowledge and Open Issues," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring and Accounting for Innovation in the Twenty-First Century, pages 257-298, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Charles L. Baum, 2022. "Seven jobs in a lifetime? An analysis of employee tenure," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 60(2), pages 543-567, April.
    14. Etienne Lalé, 2019. "Search and Multiple Jobholding," Upjohn Working Papers 19-305, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    15. Bailey, Keith A. & Spletzer, James R., 2021. "A new measure of multiple jobholding in the U.S. economy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    16. John Haltiwanger & James R. Spletzer, 2021. "Rising between Firm Inequality and Declining Labor Market Fluidity: Evidence of a Changing Job Ladder," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring Distribution and Mobility of Income and Wealth, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Henry R. Hyatt & James R. Spletzer, 2016. "The Shifting Job Tenure Distribution†," Working Papers 16-12r, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    18. Keith A. Bailey & James R. Spletzer, 2020. "A New Measure of Multiple Jobholding in the U.S. Economy," Working Papers 20-26, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    19. Ismail Baydur & Toshihiko Mukoyama, 2020. "Job Duration and Match Characteristics over the Business Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 37, pages 33-53, July.
    20. Barry T. Hirsch & Muhammad M. Husain & John V. Winters, 2017. "The Puzzling Pattern of Multiple Job Holding across U.S. Labor Markets," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 84(1), pages 26-51, July.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    hires; separations; single quarter jobs; stepping stone jobs;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

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

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