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June 1982, Vol. 105, No. 6
Labor turnover in manufacturing:
the survey in retrospect
Carol M. Utter
With the compilation of data for December 1981, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has ended its survey of labor turnover, predominantly in manufacturing. The monthly survey, a key economic indicator, was discontinued because of severe budgetary cutbacks.
The labor turnover survey was initiated in 1926 by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. to provide personnel managers with a national benchmark of turnover rates in manufacturing plants. In 1929, the company turned the project over to BLS for further development, and BLS had been collecting data monthly since 1930. In the first 10 years, the Bureau expanded the original sample of 175 large establishments, which employed 25 percent of all manufacturing workers. In the meantime, a number of State employment security agencies affiliated with the U.S. Employment Service of the Department of Labor were collecting labor turnover information for use in local job market analysis and as a guide for the operations of the State employment services. Cooperative arrangements between these agencies and the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the joint collection of labor turnover data began with an agreement with Connecticut in 1954.
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