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November 2004, Vol. 127, No.11
Annual measures of gross job gains and gross job losses
Joshua C. Pinkston and James R. Spletzer
The new Business Employment Dynamics data series from the Bureau of Labor Statistics documents the quarterly gross job gains and losses from 1992 to the present. These data quantify the sizable number of jobs that appear and disappear in the U.S. economy each quarter, adding a new level of understanding that traditional employment statistics cannot provide. For example, these data show that the 2001 recession was characterized by a temporary spike in gross job losses accompanied by a decline in gross job gains that has yet to return to pre-recessionary levels.1
This article builds on the quarterly Business Employment Dynamics statistics by presenting annual tabulations of gross job gains and losses. These annual statistics provide information about labor market dynamics in two ways. First, in comparison to the quarterly statistics, the annual statistics highlight the transitory nature of short-run establishment level employment changes. Many quarterly expansions and contractions are temporary, and reverse themselves in other quarters during the year. Furthermore, this article finds that a significant number of establishment openings in the quarterly statistics are continuous establishments that close and reopen during the year. Second, the annual statistics provide a framework for a longer run view of how establishments grow and decline, and thus set the stage for understanding business survival. Particularly, this article explains how establishment openings and closings contribute to employment growth in both the short run and in the longer run.
This excerpt is from an article published in the November 2004 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 For a complete description and analysis of the new data series, see James R. Spletzer, R. Jason Faberman, Akbar Sadeghi, David M. Talan, and Richard L. Clayton, "Business employment dynamics: new data on gross job gains and losses," Monthly Labor Review, April 2004, pp. 29–42. The Business Employment Dynamics Web site is www.bls.gov/bdm.
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