Displaced Workers Technical Note
Last Modified Date: August 28, 2018
The data presented in this release were collected through a supplement to the
January 2018 Current Population Survey (CPS), the monthly survey of about 60,000
eligible households that provides basic data on employment and unemployment for
the nation. The CPS is conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor
Statistics (BLS). The purpose of this supplement was to obtain information on the
number and characteristics of persons who had been displaced (as defined below)
from their jobs over the prior 3 calendar years. The collection of these data is
sponsored by the Department of Labor's Chief Evaluation Office. Additional
information, reports, and archived news releases are available at
Data presented in this release are based on Census 2010 population controls that
are updated annually in January. For additional information, see "Population control
adjustments to the CPS" available at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#pop.
Information in this release will be made available to sensory impaired
individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 691-5200; Federal Relay Service:
Reliability of the estimates
Statistics based on the CPS are subject to both sampling and nonsampling error.
When a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed, there is a chance
that the sample estimates may differ from the true population values they represent.
The component of this difference that occurs because samples differ by chance is
known as sampling error, and its variability is measured by the standard error of
the estimate. There is about a 90-percent chance, or level of confidence, that an
estimate based on a sample will differ by no more than 1.6 standard errors from the
true population value because of sampling error. BLS analyses are generally conducted
at the 90-percent level of confidence.
The CPS data also are affected by nonsampling error. Nonsampling error can occur
for many reasons, including the failure to sample a segment of the population,
inability to obtain information for all respondents in the sample, inability or
unwillingness of respondents to provide correct information, and errors made in the
collection or processing of the data.
Information about the reliability of data from the CPS and guidance on estimating
standard errors is available at www.bls.gov/cps/documentation.htm#reliability.
Concepts and questions
Displaced workers are wage and salary workers 20 years of age and over who lost
or left jobs because their plant or company closed or moved, there was insufficient
work for them to do, or their position or shift was abolished. Data are often presented
for long-tenured displaced workers--those who had worked for their employer for 3 or
more years at the time of displacement.
Wage and salary workers receive wages, salaries, commissions, tips, payment in kind,
or piece rates. The group includes employees in both the private and public sectors but
excludes all self-employed persons, both those with incorporated businesses as well as
those with unincorporated businesses.
Data discussed in this release on displaced workers were obtained from the following
(This question was asked of all persons 20 years and over.) During the last 3 calendar
years, that is, January 2015 through December 2017, did (you/name) lose a job or leave
one because: (your/his/her) plant or company closed or moved, (your/his/her) position or
shift was abolished, insufficient work, or another similar reason?
(If the respondent answered "yes" to the above question on job loss, the following
question was then asked.) Which of these specific reasons describes why (name/you)
(is/are) no longer working at that job?
Plant or company closed down or moved
Plant or company operating but lost or left job because of:
Position or shift abolished
Seasonal job completed
Self-operated business failed
Some other reason
Respondents who provided one of the first three reasons--plant or company closed or
moved, insufficient work, or position or shift abolished--were classified as displaced
and asked additional questions about the lost job, including how many years they had
worked for their employer; the year the job was lost; the earnings, industry, and
occupation of the lost job; and whether health insurance had been provided. Other
questions were asked to determine what occurred before and after the job loss, such
as: Was the respondent notified of the upcoming dismissal? How long did he/she go
without work? Did he/she receive unemployment benefits? And, if so, were the benefits
used up? Did the person move to another location after the job loss to take or look for
another job? Information also was collected about current health insurance coverage
(other than Medicare and Medicaid) and current earnings for those employed at the time
of the survey.