BLS: 3.2M Workers Lost Long-Term Jobs in 2013-15--Most Because Company Moved, Closed or Position Abolished

By Susan Jones | August 25, 2016 | 11:11am EDT
The old General Motors plant in Janesville, Wisconsin. (AP File Photo)

( - In the two years from January 2013 through December 2015, 3.2 million workers age 20 or older were "displaced" from jobs they held for at least three years, because their plant or company either closed down or moved; there wasn't enough work for them to do; or their position or shift was abolished, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Thursday.

37.4 percent of those displaced workers said they lost their job because their plant or company closed down or moved; an additional 37.1 percent said that their position or shift was abolished; and 25.6 percent cited insufficient work.

Since 1984, the U.S. Department of Labor has sponsored surveys that collect information on workers, age 20 or older, who were displaced from their jobs. These surveys have been conducted every other January as supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of households that is the primary source of information on the nation's labor force.

The 3.2 million workers displaced after three or more years on the job in 2013-15 was a better showing than the 4.3 million long-tenured workers displaced in the prior survey period covering January 2011-December 2013; and the 6.1 million long-tenured workers who were displaced during the prior survey period covering January 2009 to December 2011.

BLS noted that in the 2013-2015 period, an additional 4.2 million persons were displaced from jobs they had held for less than three years (referred to as short-tenured workers). Combining the short- and long-tenured groups, the number of displaced workers totaled 7.4 million in 2013-2015. In the 2011-13 survey period, this group numbered 9.5 million.

The 2013-2015 period was one of job growth and falling unemployment rates, compared with the years following the recession.

In January 2016, 66 percent of long-tenured workers displaced between 2013-2015 were re-employed, up from 61 percent for the prior survey in January 2014.

Also during the 2013-15 period:

--553,000 long-tenured manufacturing workers were displaced from their jobs, which is 17 percent of all long-tenured displaced workers. Manufacturing displacements occurred mostly in durable goods.

-- Workers in wholesale and retail trade accounted for 15 percent of all long-tenured displacements; professional and business services accounted for 12 percent; and education and health services also accounted for 12 percent of displacements.

-- Workers displaced from mining were the least likely to be re-employed (41 percent).

-- In January 2016, the re-employment rate was 73 percent for workers ages 25 to 54, up from 68 percent in the prior survey. Re-employment rates were lower for older workers. In January 2016, the re-employment rates for those ages 55 to 64 and 65 years and over were 60 percent and 27 percent, respectively.

-- Forty-five percent of long-tenured displaced workers in the January 2016 survey received written advance notice that their jobs would be terminated, up from 40 percent for the January 2014 survey.

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