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May 2009, Vol. 132, No. 5
Business employment dynamics: annual tabulations
Akbar Sadeghi, James R. Spletzer, and David M. Talan
Business Employment Dynamics (BED) data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics are quarterly statistics that quantify levels of gross job gains and gross job losses in the United States. Gross job gains are defined as the sum of all employment gains at expanding and opening establishments. Gross job losses are defined as the sum of all employment losses at contracting and closing establishments. In the second quarter of 2008, on a seasonally adjusted basis, 1.8 million establishments expanded or opened, creating 7.3 million jobs, and 2.0 million establishments contracted or closed, eliminating 7.8 million jobs. The difference between the 7.3 million gross job gains and the 7.8 million gross job losses is a net employment loss of 0.5 million jobs (seasonally adjusted). The gross job gain and gross job loss statistics, which are substantially larger numbers than the net employment change, illustrate how dynamic the U.S. labor market is from quarter to quarter.
Since their initial release in 2003, BED statistics have become an important component of the Nation’s statistical infrastructure. BED data are routinely cited by policymakers, researchers, and the business community, as well as the popular press. One request that BLS has heard consistently from users is for the production of annual gross job gain and loss statistics, which would enable a comparison of BED statistics with gross job gain and loss statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and from other countries. The statistics that the BED program historically has produced cannot be compared with statistics from other statistical agencies, because the BED statistics are quarterly and other gross job gain and loss statistics are annual; four quarters of gross job gains and losses cannot be summed to create an annual measure of gross job gains and losses.
This excerpt is from an article published in the May 2009 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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