Leadership Investigate

Job Loss In The Great Recession: Historial Perspective From The Displaced Workers Survey, 1984-2010

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Executive Summary

The Great Recession from December 2007 to June 2009 is associated with a dramatic weakening of the labor market from which the labor market is now only slowly recovering. The unemployment rate remains stubbornly high and durations of unemployment are unprecedentedly long. The author uses data from the Displaced Workers Survey (DWS) from 1984-2010 to investigate the incidence and consequences of job loss from 1981-2009. In particular, the January 2010 DWS, which captures job loss during the 2007-2009 period, provides a window through which to examine the experience of job losers in the Great Recession and to compare their experience to that of earlier job losers.

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