NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

On the Size Distribution of Employment and Establishments

Jonathan S. Leonard

NBER Working Paper No. 1951
Issued in June 1986
NBER Program(s):   LS

Recent arguments that employment growth occurs disproportionately at small establishments are fundamentally misleading because they confuse regression to the mean with structural shifts in the size distribution of establishments and with an aging effect within cohorts. The net growth usually observed in aggregate studies hides the gross flows; 13 percent of the jobs in existence in 1974 had disappeared by 1980, while 18 percent of the 1980 jobs had not existed six years previously. The variation observed here in labor demand over time within individual establishments may help to explain unemployment.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w1951

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