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March 1984, Vol. 107, No. 3
New occupational separation data
improve estimates of job replacement needs
Each year, many workers leave the occupation in which they are employed. Many reasons prompt these separationssome individuals change occupations to better utilize their skills, improve their working environment, or earn higher wages; others stop working to enjoy leisure time, care for their families, or go to school. However, others lose their jobs and subsequently may begin working in another occupation, become unemployed, or leave the labor force. Many workers who leave an occupation are replaced. Thus, information about replacement needs is valuable to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' occupational outlook program because in most occupations replacement requirements provide more employment opportunities than job growth.
Information on replacement needs previously published by the BLS was confined almost exclusively to estimates of the need to replace workers who permanently left the labor force because of death or retirement.1 Sufficient data were not available to develop estimates of replacement needs resulting from workers who temporarily left the labor force or transferred to another occupation.
Using the Current Population Survey (CPS) as a data base, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has developed a procedure which improves estimates of the number of job openings arising from workers who leave their occupations.2 The procedure results in data which identify the numbers and types of separations and the characteristics of workers who change occupations, become unemployed, or leave the labor force. The data are then used to calculate replacement needs, a vital part of the BLS occupational outlook program. Because of the new procedure, projected replacement needs now include occupational transfers and all labor force separations, except deaths.
This excerpt is from an article published in the March 1984 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 Tomorrow's Manpower Needs, Vol. 1, Bulletin 1606 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1969), p. 47.
2 Measuring Labor Force Movements: A New Approach, Report 581 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1980) discusses the need and provides a conceptual framework for improved replacement needs data.
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