Year

2010

Series

Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 10-170

DOI

10.17848/wp10-170

Abstract

American employment policy for displaced workers started in the Great Depression with programs for the employment service, unemployment insurance, work experience, and direct job creation. Assistance for workers displaced by foreign competition emerged in the 1960s along with formalized programs for occupational job skill training. The policy focus on displaced workers was sharpened in the 1980s through the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act and the Economic Dislocation and Worker Adjustment Assistance Act. Field experiments on services to dislocated workers led to Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services systems in all states, and federal rules adopted as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement Act permitted UI benefit receipt while starting self-employment. Evaluation evidence suggests there should be continuous connection of unemployment compensation recipients to reemployment services, skill training closely connected to employer requirements, earnings supplements to ease transitions to different jobs, efforts to maintain and strengthen employer-employee relationships, information channels to employees and communities about impending employment disruptions, and targeting of services to improve returns on public investments. While no silver bullet emerges to solve worker displacement, many different programs addressing a variety of needs can improve labor market outcomes after permanent job loss.

Issue Date

March 2010

Note

Based on remarks made at the Canadian Roundtable on Displaced Workers, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Gatineau, Quebec, March 12, 2010

Subject Areas

UNEMPLOYMENT, DISABILITY, and INCOME SUPPORT PROGRAMS; Unemployment insurance; WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT; Labor exchange; Public training programs; LABOR MARKET ISSUES; Job security and unemployment dynamics; Dislocated workers

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Citation

O'Leary, Christopher J. 2010. "Policies for Displaced Workers: An American Perspective." Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 10-170. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. https://doi.org/10.17848/wp10-170