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Survey: Number of displaced workers soars

From Jan. 2007 through Dec. 2009, 6.9 million workers were displaced from jobs they had held for at least three years, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

This was nearly twice as many as were displaced for the survey period covering Jan. 2005 to Dec. 2007.

In Jan. 2010, about half of displaced workers were reemployed, down from about two-thirds for the prior survey in Jan. 2008. The more recent period includes the recession that began in Dec. 2007. In contrast, the prior survey covered a period of employment growth and declining unemployment.

Since 1984, the Employment and Training Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor has sponsored surveys that collect information on workers who were displaced from their jobs. These surveys have been conducted biennially as supplements to the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of households that is the primary source of information on the nation’s labor force.

Displaced workers are defined as persons 20 years of age and older 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. The period covered in this study was 2007-09. An additional 8.5 million persons were displaced from jobs they had held for less than three years (referred to as short-tenured).

Combining the short- and long-tenured groups, the number of displaced workers totaled 15.4 million from 2007-09, up from 8.3 million for the period covered by the prior survey (2005-07).

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