Business Employment Dynamics

Summary of Business Employment Dynamics Data By Size of Change, December 2007

These Business Employment Dynamics (BED) size of employment change data quantify the distribution of quarterly gross job gains and gross job losses by size of employment change. These data show that approximately one-third of gross job gains and gross job losses originate from a large number of establishments that are changing their employment level by 1-4 employees, while approximately one-third of gross job gains and gross job losses originate from a relatively few number of establishments that are changing their employment by 20 or more jobs (See tables A and B.) These new size of employment change data are a new way of presenting the BED statistics, and are different from the BED firm size class data. For example, establishments that are gaining 1-4 jobs could be small establishments that are doubling their size, or they could be large establishments that are adding just a few employees.

Gross Job Gains and Gross Job Losses, by Size of Employment Change:
December 2007

BED size of employment change data highlight several facts about the levels of gross job gains and gross job losses. In the fourth quarter of 2007, gross job gains from opening and expanding establishments was 7.6 million. Of these gross job gains, 34.5 percent were created by 1.6 million establishments that added 1-4 jobs, and 35.7 percent were created by 52,000 establishments that added 20 or more jobs. In the fourth quarter of 2007, gross job losses from contracting and closing establishments was 7.3 million. Of these gross job losses, 35.9 percent occurred in 1.6 million establishments that lost 1-4 jobs, and 34.2 percent occurred in 49,000 establishments that lost 20 or more jobs. Additionally, there were 3.5 million establishments that did not change their employment level in the fourth quarter of 2007. These new size of employment change data show that there are a large number of establishments that are changing their employment by a few employees, while simultaneously there are a relatively few number of establishments that are changing their employment by a large number of employees. The resulting gross job gains and gross job losses from these two groups of establishments are roughly equivalent (See tables A and B.)

Gross Job Gains and Gross Job Losses, by Size of Employment Change:
1992-2007

BED size of employment change data also highlight several facts about the trends of gross job gains and gross job losses over the business cycle. The jobs gained and lost by the relatively few establishments that are changing their employment level by many jobs exhibit much stronger cyclical variation than the jobs gained and lost by the large number of establishments that are changing their size by just a few jobs. The decline in gross job gains and the increase in gross job losses that occurred during the 2001 recession are most obvious in the establishments that gained or lost 20 or more jobs . The quarterly gross job gains fell from 8.5 million in the first quarter of 2001 to 7.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2001. Sixty-one percent of this decline is attributable to establishments that gain 20 or more jobs. The quarterly gross job losses rose from 8.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2000 to 8.8 million in the third quarter of 2001. Sixty-five percent of this increase is attributable to establishments that lose 20 or more jobs.

For the most recent detailed data, see
Charts and Tables: Latest Business Employment Dynamics Data By Size of Change

Last Modified Date: September 25, 2008

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