Changes in the Age and Education Profile of Displaced Workers
This analysis of data from the Displaced Workers Surveys suggests that between the periods 1983–87 and 1993–97, although the likelihood of involuntary job loss declined among most age groups, including older workers, it rose for middle-aged and older workers relative to younger workers. Three potential explanations for this shift the authors investigate are changes in educational attainment, changes in the relationship between education and displacement, and industry shifts that had adverse effects on older workers relative to younger workers. The results of the analysis indicate that the relative displacement rate among college graduates increased over time, but there were few significant changes in the relationship between displacement and education within or across age groups. The probability of displacement increased significantly for workers in service-related industries across all age groups. The results do not conclusively indicate why older workers’ relative risk of displacement increased but do rule out several possibilities.
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