Time & Tenure with Employers

Time & Tenure with Employers

Created Variables

TENURE: These variables reflect the total number of weeks tenure with each employer, measured from start date to stop date at each interview and added together between survey periods.
HOURS WORKED PER WEEK (INCLUDING HOME HOURS): These variables reflect the number of hours worked per week, including hours worked at home which may be reported separately beginning in 1988.

For more created variables such weeks worked, hours worked, and weeks unemployed, see the created variables list in the Work History Data section.

 

Important Information About Using Time and Tenure With Employers Data

  • Understanding the NLSY79 time and tenure variables requires some knowledge of the NLSY79 employer and labor force status data collections.  Readers will find more information on those subjects within the Jobs & Employers and the Labor Force Status sections of this guide.
  • The collection of job-specific start and stop dates and gaps in the work record that are linked to specific week numbers allows a chronological weekly work history from 1978 to current survey date to be constructed for each respondent. This weekly chronicling of a respondent's work experience is released as part of the NLSY79 Work History weekly arrays, that is, a weekly labor force status array, a weekly usual hours worked array, a weekly dual jobs array, and so forth. Users are cautioned that the week numbers associated with the various periods of unpaid leave may be assigned imprecisely if the gap is split between an unemployment and out of the labor force classification. In this case, unemployment is arbitrarily assigned to the middle weeks in a gap. For more information on the Work History weekly arrays see the "Labor Force Status" and Work Experience" sections in Appendix 18.

Time and tenure questions provide information on a respondent's time spent with an employer, time spent away from an employer during which the employment contract was maintained or renewed, and periods of time when the respondent was neither working for an employer nor serving in the active forces. 

Hours Worked

During each survey, information is collected on:

  • the number of hours during the survey week that a respondent worked at all jobs
  • the number of hours per day and week usually worked at the CPS job; and
  • the usual hours per day and per week worked at the non-CPS Jobs #1-5

Post-1987 surveys differentiated, for each job, the number of hours worked at home from the hours worked at the place of employment.  Follow-up questions double check that these at-home hours are included in the total hours reported working. The creation procedures for the 'Hourly Rate of Pay 'variables factor in all values. 

Survey Instruments and Documentation The "Current Labor Force Status (CPS)" and Employer Supplement sections of the main questionnaires and the 1980 through current survey year Employer Supplements collect information on hours. A weekly HOURS array similar to the weekly STATUS and DUALJOB arrays discussed earlier is created from the data on hours worked. The HOURS array contains the total number of hours worked at all jobs for each week since January 1, 1978. The hourly summary variables are created from the week-by-week arrays.
Areas of Interest Information collected on hours worked both at all jobs and at the CPS job has been placed in the "CPS" area of interest, while information related to Jobs #1-5 is located in "Job Information." The series of summary variables is in "Key Variables."  In 1979 and since 1993, Job #1 is always the CPS job if there is one.

Shift and Times Worked 

Data on the type of shift usually worked at the respondent's current or most recent (CPS) job, such as "day shift," "evening shift," or "split shift," have been collected during all but the 1986 and 1987 surveys. Beginning with the 1986 survey, information on the actual times (24 hour clock) that a respondent usually began and ended the CPS job is available. Coding categories for the 1988 and 1989 shift variables were collapsed. All respondents were asked a follow-up question beginning in 1990 on the actual or usual time work began and ended during the last week (or most recent week) they worked.

Survey Instruments and Documentation

The "Current Labor Force Status (CPS)" section of the main questionnaires gathered information on shift and clock hours worked until 1993 for CPS job.  From 1994 on, this information is gathered in the Employer Supplements for all jobs.

Areas of Interest The NLSY79 shift variables can be found in the "CPS," "Job Information," and "Misc. xxxx" areas of interest. The post-1985 clock variables are in "Misc. xxxx" and "Job Information."

Periods Working for an Employer Including Unpaid and Paid Leave

Periods of time that a respondent worked for a specific employer can be identified through information collected on dates that employment began and ended. Those respondents with a stop date for an employer are asked for information on the reason the job ended and whether a new job was lined up before the respondent left this job. Interrupted employment with an employer of one week or more during which the respondent was either on unpaid leave or unpaid vacation is also detailed. The total number of such separate within-job gaps is identified, along with the specific start and stop dates and the main reason for not working, such as "on strike," "on layoff," "quit job but returned to same employer," "job ended but began again," "attending school," "health problems," "childcare problems," "pregnancy," and so forth.

Information also is available on whether the respondent was looking for work during "some," "none," or "all" of the weeks during a period of not working. For those respondents who indicate that "some" weeks were spent looking for work or on layoff, information is available on the number of weeks duration for each period of unemployment or layoff, the total number of weeks spent looking and not looking, and the main reason he or she was not looking for work.  Users should note that the specific week numbers during which the respondent was unemployed versus out of the labor force within a single gap are not available if both statuses apply. Information is collected only on the total number of weeks that were spent in either of the two nonemployed labor force statuses.  For example, an eight-week within-job gap that occurred between week number 152 and week number 160 may identify two of those weeks as weeks of unemployment and six of those weeks as out of the labor force. It will not designate the specific week numbers 154 and 155 as the precise two weeks that the respondent was unemployed as opposed to out of the labor force.

During post-1987 surveys, female respondents (only) are asked for information on the total number of separate periods of paid leave from an employer which were taken due to either pregnancy or birth of a child. Start and stop dates are collected for each period of leave.

Types of information collected about periods of paid and unpaid leave are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1. Gaps in Employment

  Type of Employment Gap
Type of Information Paid Leave 1 Within Job Gap Between Job Gap
Description Paid leave for periods due to pregnancy or birth of a child Periods of one week or more of unpaid leave or unpaid vacation during which R did not work but the association with an employer was maintained or renewed Periods of time during which there was no association with any employer or active military duty
Number of Periods2 Up to two periods of one full week or more Up to three periods of one full week or more Up to four periods of one full week or more
Start Date Month/ Day/Year Month/ Day/Year Month/ Day/Year
Stop Date Month/ Day/Year Month/ Day/Year Month/ Day/Year
Main Reason for Not Working Pregnancy or childbirth (unspecified) On strike, on layoff, quit job but returned to same employer, job ended-restarted, attending school, health problems, childcare problems, pregnancy, etc. Coding categories for reason not working vary by both type of job gap and survey year for the between-job gap data collections
Amount of Weeks Looking or on Layoff na Some/None/All Some/None/All
Week Numbers (Rs Looking for Work/on Layoff) na Week number period began
Week number period ended
Week number period began
Week number period ended
Number of Weeks Looking or on Layoff na Total Weeks Total Weeks
Number of Weeks Out of the Labor Force na Total Weeks Total Weeks
Reason Out of the Labor Force na Did not want to work, ill/disabled, pregnancy, childcare, no work available, labor dispute/strike, could not find work, in jail, transportation problems, etc. Did not want to work, ill/disabled, pregnancy, childcare, no work available, labor dispute/strike, could not find work, in jail, transportation problems, etc.
 
1 Pregnancy/childbirth leave information is available beginning in 1988.
2 Although information is collected about all periods of without employment, data on the main file public release are currently restricted to the numbers specified here.
Note: na means not available.

 

Survey Instruments and Documentation Each Employer Supplement includes questions on periods working and not working for that employer. The Jobs Calendar, used during administration of the military- and job-related sections of the main questionnaire, and the Employer Supplement, function to:
  1. provide a graphic summary of a respondent's military and employment history since the date of last interview
  2. identify the duration of gaps between periods of labor force activity. 

Each calendar gives the interviewer the week numbers attached to the last few calendar years; weeks are numbered consecutively beginning in January 1978 (week 01) through December of the current survey year.

Areas of Interest Variables related to periods working for an employer have been placed in the "Misc. xxxx" and "Job Information" areas of interest.  Those variables related to employment gaps are located in "Periods Not Working within Job Tenure" and can be identified through variable titles that include the phrases PERIOD #, JOB #, and, for many variables, the NOT EMPLD universe.
Related Variables Assignment of a specific labor force status to each week in the respondent's work history permits creation of a series of "summary labor force variables."  These variables provide a count of the total number of weeks a respondent spent in a given labor force status calculated for two different periods of time, that is, the past calendar year and since the last interview.  Because these variables, such as 'Number of Weeks Out of Labor Force in Past Calendar Year,' and 'Number of Weeks Unemployed Since Last Interview,' summarize time spent in a given labor force status, they are discussed in the Labor Force Status section. Two other sets of summary variables in which time with a given employer is delineated include:

  • 'Total Tenure (in Weeks) with Employer as of Interview Date Job #X'; and
  • 'Number of Different Jobs Ever Reported as of Interview Date.' 

A description of the tenure variable follows; creation procedures for the jobs ever reported can be found in the  Jobs & Employers section of this guide.

Total Tenure with Employer

The variable series 'Total Tenure (in Weeks) with Employer as of Interview Date Job #X' is created from

  • the start (or last interview) and stop dates for an employer
  • a match, if any, of employers identified during the current interview as the same employer from a previous interview year

Tenure in weeks with an employer is first calculated for the period between the date of last interview and the current interview date (tenure since the date of last interview).  Next, a match with employers reported during the previous interview is attempted. If such a match is established, the total tenure in weeks with the matched employer from the previous interview is added to the total weeks tenure with that employer since the date of last interview. This creates a cumulative tenure in weeks with that employer from the time the employer was first reported up to the most recent week worked. Tenure with employers for whom no match exists in the previous interview is simply the tenure with that employer since the date of last interview.  Further information on matching employers can be found in Appendix 9: Linking Employers through Survey Years and in Appendix 18: NLSY79 Work History Data included in the NLSY79 Codebook Supplement.

Tenure is cumulative through contiguous survey years, beginning on the first date the respondent reports working for the employer (the start date) and ending on the date the respondent reports leaving the employer (the stop date). If a respondent started working for an employer before or on the date of last interview, tenure since the date of last interview is added to the already existing time to reflect total tenure. If the respondent is working for the employer on the current interview date, the stop date is set to the current date. If the respondent reports working for this employer at the next interview, tenure between interviews is added to the total tenure figure.

For example, imagine the following scenario. A respondent starts working for COMPANY A on July 7, 1989, and is interviewed on July 31, 1989. She is still working for that company on August 1, 1990, when she is interviewed again. She continues to work for the same company until May 15, 1991 when she leaves. She is interviewed again on August 15, 1991. A cumulative tenure in number of weeks would be constructed in three stages:

T1 = [Tenure from July 7, 1989 - July 31, 1989 at the 1989 interview]

T2 = T1 + [Tenure from August 1, 1989 - August 1, 1990 at 1990 interview]

T3 = T1 + T2 + [Tenure from August 2, 1990 - May 15, 1991 (time worked for COMPANY A between 1990 and 1991 interview, before respondent left)]

TENURE WITH COMPANY A (at 1989 interview) = T1

TENURE WITH COMPANY A (at 1990 interview) = T2

TENURE WITH COMPANY A (at 1991 interview) = T3

Areas of Interest The tenure variables are located in the "Work History - Main - Created" area of interest. One tenure variable exists for each of five jobs in each survey year. The Work Experience section includes a discussion of these variables.

Periods Not Working or in the Military

During each survey, information is collected on up to six periods since the date of last interview during which a respondent is not affiliated with an employer or in the active military. Data available for each period of not working include month, day, and year that the period began and ended; the specific week numbers associated with the period of not working; whether any of these weeks (coded as "none," "some," or "all") was spent looking for work or on layoff; and, the number of weeks spent looking for work or on layoff, the number of weeks the respondent was out of the labor force, and the main reason that the respondent was not looking for work. All respondents with between-job gaps are asked the questions on periods of not working.

Survey Instruments and Documentation The periods not working questions can be found in the "Gaps when R was not Working or in the Military" or "Gaps" sections of the main questionnaires.
Areas of Interest The "Misc. xxxx" and "Between Job Gaps" areas of interest contain the gaps between jobs variables.

Comparison to Other NLS Cohorts: The questions asked of NLSY79 young adults closely parallel those in the main youth survey. Beginning in 2000, young adults were not asked for between job gaps and only limited information was collected concerning job gaps over time. NLSY97 respondents age 14 and over with employee jobs and all respondents with freelance jobs provide information about the number of hours worked each week. The Mature and Young Women regularly reported the number of hours usually worked per day and per week; they reported exact times shifts begin and end starting in 1995. Older and Young Men reported the usual number of hours per week only.

NLSY97 respondents provide the start and stop dates of each employee and freelance job, as well as military service. The survey also collects information about periods of a week or more when the respondent was not working at a given job. Tenure at current or last job is available for the Older Men for 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, and 1971, and for the Younger Men for 1967, 1969, and 1971. For the Mature and Young Women, users may be able to create tenure variables for the later survey years by combining start and stop dates and data on within-job gaps.  For more precise details about the content of each survey, consult the appropriate cohort's User's Guide using the tabs above for more information.