Displaced Workers Technical Note
Last Modified Date: August 24, 2012
The data presented in this release were collected through a supplement to the
January 2012 Current Population Survey (CPS), the monthly survey of about 60,000
eligible households that provides basic data on employment and unemployment for
the nation. The CPS is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor
Statistics (BLS). The purpose of this supplement was to obtain information on the
number and characteristics of persons who had been displaced (as defined below)
from their jobs over the prior 3 calendar years. Additional information, reports,
and archived news releases, including the Worker Displacement 2007-2009 news re-
lease, are available online at www.bls.gov/cps/lfcharacteristics.htm#displaced.
Data presented in this release are based on Census 2010 population con-
trols that are updated annually in January. For additional information, see
"Population control adjustments to the CPS" available on the Internet at
Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired in-
dividuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service:
Reliability of the estimates
Statistics based on the CPS are subject to both sampling and nonsampling error.
When a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed, there is a chance
that the sample estimates may differ from the "true" population values they re-
present. The exact difference, or sampling error, varies depending on the parti-
cular sample selected, and this variability is measured by the standard error of
the estimate. There is about a 90-percent chance, or level of confidence, that
an estimate based on a sample will differ by no more than 1.6 standard errors
from the "true" population value because of sampling error. BLS analyses are
generally conducted at the 90-percent level of confidence.
The CPS data also are affected by nonsampling error. Nonsampling error can
occur for many reasons, including the failure to sample a segment of the popula-
tion, inability to obtain information for all respondents in the sample, inabil-
ity or unwillingness of respondents to provide correct information, and errors
made in the collection or processing of the data.
A full discussion of the reliability of data from the CPS and information on
estimating standard errors is documented and can be found on the BLS web site at
Concepts and questions
Displaced workers are wage and salary workers 20 years of age and older who
lost or left jobs because their plant or company closed or moved, there was in-
sufficient work for them to do, or their position or shift was abolished. Data
are often presented for long-tenured displaced workers--those who had worked for
their employer for 3 or more years at the time of displacement.
Wage and salary workers receive wages, salaries, commissions, tips, payment
in kind, or piece rates. The group includes employees in both the private and
public sectors but excludes all self-employed persons, both those with incor-
porated businesses as well as those with unincorporated businesses.
Data discussed in this release on displaced workers were obtained from the
(This question was asked of all persons 20 years and over.) During the last
3 calendar years, that is, January 2009 through December 2011, did (you/name)
lose a job or leave one because: (your/his/her) plant or company closed or
moved, (your/his/her) position or shift was abolished, insufficient work, or
another similar reason?
(If the respondent answered "yes" to the above question on job loss, the
following question was then asked.) Which of these specific reasons describes
why (name/you) (is/are) no longer working at that job?
Plant or company closed down or moved
Plant or company operating but lost or left job because of:
Position or shift abolished
Seasonal job completed
Self-operated business failed
Some other reason
Respondents who provided one of the first three reasons--plant or company
closed or moved, insufficient work, or position or shift abolished--were clas-
sified as displaced and asked additional questions about the lost job, including
how many years they had worked for their employer; the year the job was lost;
the earnings, industry, and occupation of the lost job; and whether health insur-
ance had been provided. Other questions were asked to determine what occurred
before and after the job loss, such as: Was the respondent notified of the up-
coming dismissal? How long did he/she go without work? Did he/she receive un-
employment benefits? And, if so, were the benefits used up? Did the person move
to another location after the job loss to take or look for another job? Informa-
tion also was collected about current health insurance coverage (other than Medi-
care and Medicaid) and current earnings for those employed in January 2012.