Tracking the 'whys' behind big job shifts

That first-day-at-a-new-gig feeling was quite widely experienced in the second quarter of 2001, with 1 in 5 Americans changing their job status.

The Lee Hecht Harrison Career Mobility Index - based on telephone surveys - indicated 80 percent of American adults who were employed at the start of the second quarter still worked for the same employer at the quarter's end. But that's a significant drop from the first three months of the year, when 88.7 percent of working Americans held the same job throughout the quarter.

The survey points out that of those individuals whose employment status changed during the second quarter, 5.2 percent were "downsized." That's almost double the 2.8 percent who lost a job in the first three months of 2001.

As for the rest, 6.5 percent left voluntarily for a new job, while 6 percent work for the same employer in a new position. Some 3.2 percent retired, and 1.1 percent became self-employed.

The findings reflect the churn in the workforce as the economic downturn continues, according to Bernadette Kenny, executive vice president at Lee Hecht Harrison. She adds that the job-jumping is not all about firings. "We also see a small, but significant increase in those changing jobs on their own accord."

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