Trends in Long Term Employment in the United States, 1979-96


I examine changes in the incidence of long-term employment in the United
States using data from mobility supplements and pension and beneļ¬t supplements to the
Current Population Survey (CPS) from 1979 through 1996. After controlling for demo-
graphic characteristics, the fraction of workers reporting more than ten and more than
twenty years of tenure fell substantially after 1993 to its lowest level since 1979. This
decline was concentrated among men, while long-term employment relationships became
slightly more common among women. The decline in the incidence of long-term employ-
ment relationships for all workers was not mirrored in an increase in incidence on lost jobs
(jobs from which workers were laid off Thus, the evidence is not consistent with the view
that the decline in long-term employment relationships is the result of employers targeting
long-term employees for layoff. In fact, it was found that the share of displaced men who
are displaced from long-term employment relationships has declined since 1979. In the
end, long-term employment relationships remain an important feature of the U.S. labor
market, and women are represented more fully in these relationships than in the past.

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