Using Displaced Worker Survey data, this paper examines changes in the age distribution of displaced workers during the 1983–87 and 1993–97 periods. Older workers comprised a significantly larger fraction of displaced workers during the later period. Potential explanations for this phenomenon include demographic shifts in the labor force, changes in technology, and industry and occupational shifts. Kernel density estimates indicate that the aging of the labor force accounts for the majority of the shift in the age distribution of displaced workers. Changes in technology also appear to have contributed to the shift in the age distribution of displaced workers by increasing the likelihood of displacement among older workers relative to younger workers. Differential changes across age groups between goods-producing and service-producing jobs and between blue-collar and white-collar jobs appear to have had little effect on the change in the age distribution of displaced workers.
JEL classification: J21, J23
Key words: displacement, age
The authors thank Donna Ginther for helpful comments and Joanna Melhop and Smit Sharma for research assistance. The views expressed here are the authors' and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors are the authors' responsibility.
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