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

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  • Henry S. Farber
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    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.

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5014.

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    Date of creation: Feb 1995
    Publication status: published as Haltiwanger, John, Marilyn E. Manser, and Robert Topel (eds.) Labor Statistics Measurement Issues. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5014
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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
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