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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ann Huff Stevens, 2005. "The More Things Change, The More They Stay the Same: Trends in Long-term Employment in the United States, 1969-2002," NBER Working Papers 11878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11878
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Leora Friedberg & Michael T. Owyang, 2004. "Explaining the evolution of pension structure and job tenure," Working Papers 2002-022, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    2. Hall, Robert E, 1982. "The Importance of Lifetime Jobs in the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 716-724, September.
    3. Ureta, Manuelita, 1992. "The Importance of Lifetime Jobs in the U.S. Economy, Revisited," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 322-335, March.
    4. 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.
    5. Joseph F. Quinn, 1999. "Has the Early Retirement Trend Reversed?," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 424, Boston College Department of Economics.
    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 206-233, April.
    7. 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).
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Miikka Rokkanen & Roope Uusitalo, 2013. "Changes in Job Stability – Evidence from Lifetime Job Histories," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 36-55, Autumn.
    2. repec:pri:cepsud:172farber is not listed on IDEAS
    3. 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.
    4. Luc Behaghel & Julie Moschion, 2011. "Skilled labor supply, IT-based technical change and job instability," PSE Working Papers halshs-00646595, HAL.
    5. 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.
    6. Luc Behaghel & Julie Moschion, 2011. "Skilled labor supply, IT-based technical change and job instability," Working Papers halshs-00646595, HAL.
    7. Henry R. Hyatt & James R. Spletzer, 2016. "The Shifting Job Tenure Distribution†," Working Papers 16-12r, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    8. Hyatt, Henry R. & Spletzer, James R., 2016. "The shifting job tenure distribution," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 363-377.
    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.
    10. repec:pri:cepsud:171farber is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:cen:wpaper:16-12 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Luc Behaghel & Eve Caroli & Emmanuelle Walkowiak, 2008. "Innovation and skill upgrading: The role of external vs internal labour markets," Working Papers halshs-00588316, HAL.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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