September 2002, Vol. 125, No. 9
Labor month in review
Ten jobs by age 36
The September Review
Longitudinal data about jobs in business establishments allow a more nuanced examination of the process of aggregate employment growth and decline. Jason Faberman takes advantage of data from the relatively new BLS Longitudinal Database to study employment trends in metropolitan areas in the States of Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania—the heart of what in the early 1980s was labeled the Rust Belt.
After dividing the 35 areas into three equal groups according to their employment growth rates, Faberman makes some interesting findings. Among them, the growth rates, with only one exception, were indeed growth rates—positive net changes. Second, the highest third had not only the highest job creation rate, but also the highest job destruction rate. Also, the average age of establishments was a little younger, on average, in the faster-growing third of metropolitan areas.
Harriet B. Presser and Barbara Altman explore the 1996 household section of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to look for differences in the incidence of "non-standard" shifts—evening, night, or rotating—between workers with differing disability statuses. They conclude that "persons with disabilities are participating in the 24-hour economy to the same extent as those without disabilities." Women with severe disabilities are somewhat less likely than other groups to work a non-standard shift. A little more than one-fifth of employed persons in the other gender and disability status groups work evening, night, or rotating shifts.
Robert F. Szafran develops and uses age-adjusted labor force participation rates to analyze the way participation would change if the baby boom had not squeezed its way through the age distribution thus far and would not be continuing to affect the age structure of the population. The overall labor force participation rate, according to Szafran, would drop by about 7 percentage points by 2040, even if the rates for individual groups remains the same. This is the result of the growing relative size of the oldest cohorts, which have relatively low rates of participation, as mortality is delayed and the baby-boom ages.
Elizabeth T. Hill looks at a very specific group of workers—the Mature Women’s Cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey—and their labor force status in 1997. She finds that among these women, who were aged 60 to 74 at the time of the survey, almost a third of the respondents had done some weeks of work in the recent past. Hill’s perception is that most of those in this group that do work do so because they prefer to work, probably like their jobs, and enjoy some flexibility as to their work schedules.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics began publishing a new price index called the Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, effective with release of July data on August 16, 2002. The new index, designated C-CPI-U, supplements existing measures including the CPI for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) and the CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).
The C-CPI-U uses expenditure data from adjacent time periods to reflect the effect of substitutions that consumers might make across item categories in response to changes in relative prices. The use of expenditure data for both base and current periods to average price change across item categories distinguishes the C-CPI-U from the existing measures, which use only a single expenditure base period to compute the price change over time.
Expenditure data required for the calculation of the C-CPI-U are available only with a time lag. Thus, the C-CPI-U is being issued first in preliminary form using the latest available expenditure data at release time and will be subject to two subsequent revisions. Accordingly, with release of the July data, "final" values of the C-CPI-U have been issued for the 12 months of 2000, "interim" values have been issued for the 12 months of 2001, and "initial" values have been issued for January-July of 2002. Find out more in "Consumer Price Indexes, July 2002," news release USDL 02–480.
Ten jobs by age 36
The average person born in the later years of the baby boom held 9.6 jobs from ages 18 to 36. These younger boomers, persons born from 1957 to 1964 and thus now aged 38 to 45, held 4.4 of those jobs while they were young adults (ages 18 to 22).
Differences in the number of jobs held are apparent between race and ethnic groups. From age 18 to age 36, whites held more jobs (9.8) than either blacks (9.1) or Hispanics (8.9). The difference is most pronounced at younger ages; whites held 4.6 jobs from ages 18 to 22, compared with 3.6 jobs for blacks and 4.0 jobs for Hispanics. On average, men held 9.9 jobs and women held 9.3 jobs from age 18 to age 36.
These data are from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79), a sample of 12,686 young men and women who were 14 to 22 years of age when first surveyed in 1979. For more information, see "Number of Jobs Held, Labor Market Activity, and Earnings Growth Among Younger Baby Boomers: Results from More Than Two Decades of a Longitudinal Survey," news release USDL 02–497.
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