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BPEA Article

The Changing Face of Job Loss in the United States, 1981-1995


IN THE FIRST WEEK of January 1996, AT&T announced it was restructuring
its operations and reducing its managerial work force by 40,000.
This was only the latest in a string of widely publicized large labor
force reductions announced by major American corporations. The public
perceives that corporations are responding to increased competitive
pressure by restructuring and downsizing their work forces, particularly
their white-collar work forces, to an unprecedented degree and that the
workers so displaced are suffering substantial economic hardship. I In
this study I examine evidence from Displaced Workers Surveys (DWSs)
from 1984 to 1996 to provide a comprehensive picture of the incidence
and consequences of job loss between 1981 and 1995 to determine the
extent to which labor force data support these perceptions.



Katharine Abraham

Director - Maryland Center for Economics and Policy

Professor, Survey Methodology and Economics - University of Maryland

Chair - Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking

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