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Are Lifetime Jobs Disappearing? Job Duration in the United States: 1973-1993

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  • Henry S. Farber

Abstract

The public believes that job security has deteriorated dramatically in the United States. In this study, I examine job durations from eight supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS) administered between 1973 and 1993 in order to determine if, in fact, there has been a systematic change in the likelihood of long- term employment. In order to measure changes in the distribution of job durations, I examine changes in selected quantiles (the median and the 0.9 quantile) of the distribution of duration of jobs in progress. I also examine selected points in the cumulative distribution function including the fraction of workers who have been with their employer 1) less than one year, 2) more than ten years, and 3) more than twenty years. The central findings are clear. By the measures I examine, there has been no systematic change in the overall distribution of job duration over the last two decades, but the distribution of long-term jobs across the population has changed in two ways. First, individuals, particularly men, with little education (less than twelve years) are substantially less likely to be in long jobs today than they were twenty years ago. Second, women with at least a high-school education are substantially more likely to be in long jobs today than they were twenty years ago.

Suggested Citation

  • Henry S. Farber, 1995. "Are Lifetime Jobs Disappearing? Job Duration in the United States: 1973-1993," NBER Working Papers 5014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5014
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    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 322-335, March.
    3. Katharine G. Abraham & James L. Medoff, 1984. "Length of Service and Layoffs in Union and Nonunion Work Groups," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 38(1), pages 87-97, October.
    4. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Henry S. Farber & Helen Levy, 1998. "Recent Trends in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Coverage: Are Bad Jobs Getting Worse?," Working Papers 781, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    2. 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.
    3. Simon Burgess, 1999. "The Reallocation of Labour: An International Comparison Using Job Tenure," CEP Discussion Papers dp0416, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    4. Peter Kuhn (McMaster), "undated". "Labour Market Polarization: Canada in International Perspective," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 02, McMaster University.
    5. Andrew Heisz, 2005. "The evolution of job stability in Canada: trends and comparisons with U.S. results," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 38(1), pages 105-127, February.
    6. Peter Cappelli, 1995. "Rethinking Employment," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 33(4), pages 563-602, December.
    7. Richard B. Freeman, 2002. "The Labour Market in the New Information Economy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(3), pages 288-305.
    8. Luke Ignaczak & Marcel Voia, 2009. "A Nonparametric Analysis Of Canadian Employment Patterns," Carleton Economic Papers 09-01, Carleton University, Department of Economics.
    9. Henry S. Farber & Helen Levy, 1998. "Recent Trends in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Coverage: Are Bad Jobs Getting Worse?," Working Papers 781, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    10. Paul Gregg & Jonathan Wadsworth, 2002. "Job tenure in Britain, 1975–2000. Is a job for life or just for Christmas?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(2), pages 111-134, May.
    11. Mertens, Antje, 1999. "Job stability trends and labor market (re-)entry in West Germany 1984 - 1997," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1999,60, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
    12. Valletta, Robert G, 1999. "Declining Job Security," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 170-197, October.
    13. Rainer Winkelmann & Klaus Zimmermann, 1998. "Is job stability declining in Germany? Evidence from count data models," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(11), pages 1413-1420.
    14. Alec R. Levenson, 1996. "Recent Trends In Part‐Time Employment," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(4), pages 78-89, October.

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    JEL classification:

    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General

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