Survey data and case studies of workers impacted by layoffs helps in understanding the worker displacement phenomenon and the experiences shared by dislocated workers after layoff.

Worker Displacement Survey Results

On August 28, 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the results of its latest survey of dislocated workers. The survey, the latest version of a biannual survey first conducted in 1984, was conducted in January 2018, and covered the 2015-2017 period.

This special BLS survey defines displaced workers as persons aged 20 or older (typically BLS tracks individuals 16 and older) who lost or left jobs, because:

   1) their plant or company closed or moved,

   2) there was insufficient work for them to do, or

   3) their position or shift was abolished.

The data from the 2013-2015 survey conducted in January 2016 generally showed less worker displacement and better re-employment results than the previous survey conducted in January 2014.

At the January 2016 survey time, 66 percent of those laid off during the three-year prior period were reemployed, compared with 61 percent from the 2014 survey.

Survey results also show that a large number of workers continue to be displaced without receiving advance written notice.

             America’s 10 Million Unemployed Youth Spell Danger for Future Economic Growth
Other Layoff and Dislocated Worker Data Sources

The Current Population Survey’s (CPS) Displaced Worker Supplement also has considerable demographic data on dislocated individuals. 

To help dispel some of the confusion about the different sources of information on this subject, please see Finding and Understanding Dislocated Worker Data.  Located there, we have also assembled a detailed comparison of the information available from sources that supply data on laid-off workers.
More information about these, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), and the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) can also be found in their respective entries in ETA’s Guide to State and Local Workforce Data.

Dislocated Worker Survey Data Series

The news releases are issued every two years following its survey timeframe, but DOL will make available unpublished tables upon request by contacting the BLS. 


See also displaced worker survey data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau.