Were 1990s Labour Markets Really Different?
Policy Options, Vol. 21 (6), 2000, pp. 15-26
Posted: 5 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 6, 1999
In the early 1990s, observers of the labour market often pointed to emerging new phenomena. How many of these trends have survived the strong economic expansion of 1997 to 1999? The rise of self-employment, which was thought to result from a decline in full-time paid employment, has continued through the buoyant labour market of recent years. Job tenure has risen, not fallen, and the number of firms people can reasonably expect to work for over their career is, as a result, lower, not higher. The participation and employment rates of younger workers have remained below their former peaks, but this seems mainly due to more young people staying in school. Finally, quit rates remain lower than might be expected at this point in the economic cycle, a fact which may reflect increased employment anxiety, despite the low unemployment rate.
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