The Changing Face of Job Loss in the United States, 1981-1993

Henry S. Farber

NBER Working Paper No. 5596
Issued in May 1996
NBER Program(s):Labor Studies

I examine changes in the incidence and consequences of job loss by reported cause between 1981 and 1993 using data from Displaced Workers Surveys (DWS), conducted as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS) in even years since 1984. The overall rate of job loss is up somewhat in the 1990s. The increase in job loss is larger for older and more educated workers, but younger and less-educated workers continue to have the highest rates of job loss. Some significant changes are also found in the rate of job loss by reported reason. Next I examine the consequences of displacement for several post- displacement labor market outcomes, including the probability of employment, full-time/part-time status, the change in earnings, job stability, and self-employment status. The adverse consequences of job loss, which have always been substantial, do not appear to have changed systematically over time. More educated workers suffer less economic loss relative to income due to displacement than do the less educated. Self-employment appears to be an important response to displacement, and older workers and the more educated are more likely to turn to self-employment.

download in pdf format
   (2983 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w5596

Published: Farber, Henry S. "What Do We Know About Job Loss In The United States? Evidence From The Displaced Workers Survey, 1984-2004." FRB Chicago - Economic Perspectives, QII (2005): 13-28.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Farber Job Loss and the Decline in Job Security in the United States
Farber w9707 Job Loss in the United States, 1981-2001
Farber w17040 Job Loss in the Great Recession: Historical Perspective from the Displaced Workers Survey, 1984-2010
Kletzer Trade and Job Loss in US. Manufacturing, 1979-1994
Hall Job Loss, Job Finding and Unemployment in the U.S. Economy over the Past 50 Years
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us