Job Absence Increases in Early 2012; Employee Turnover Falls Slightly

ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Job absence rates edged up slightly in the first quarter of 2012 but absenteeism still continued to run well below levels recorded before the recession, according to Bloomberg BNA's quarterly survey of job absence and turnover.  Median rates of unscheduled absence (excluding long-term absences and partial days out) averaged 0.7 percent of scheduled worker days through the first three months of this year, up slightly from 0.6 percent in both the previous quarter and the first quarter of 2011. Despite that modest uptick, the first-quarter average is substantially lower than levels observed prior to the economic downturn of 2007-2009 (e.g., 1.5 percent in the first three months of 2006).


The modest overall increase in job absence during the first quarter was far from uniform or consistent across industry, workforce size, or regional classifications. Given the lack of any consistent pattern across subsectors and the fact that absenteeism remains well below levels that were common before the recession, it would seem too soon to declare that employees are feeling secure enough to take more time off.

Employee turnover in early 2012 gave no indication that worker separations will return to pre-recession levels any time soon. After rising slightly in 2010 and holding steady last year, employee departures (other than layoffs and reductions- in-force) in the first three months of this year declined slightly from levels observed in the same quarter of 2011. Median rates of employee turnover averaged just 0.6 percent of the workforce per month during the first quarter of 2012, unchanged from the fourth quarter of 2011, down slightly from 0.7 percent a year ago, and barely above the record-low first-quarter average recorded in 2009 (0.5 percent).

Turnover statistics for the first three months of 2012 provide little indication of any sustained or uniform trend in employee separations. With a few exceptions, first-quarter separation rates across industry, size, and region reflected modest or no change from a year earlier, with slight movement in one sector often counterbalanced by an opposite, moderate change in another. Certainly, the Bloomberg BNA survey offers no evidence that worker separations will soon approach levels observed before the recession.

Full copies of the survey are available to working press. Please email

Bloomberg BNA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomberg, is a leading source of legal, regulatory, and business information for professionals. Its network of more than 2,500 reporters, correspondents, and leading practitioners delivers expert analysis, news, practice tools, and guidance — the information that matters most to professionals.  Bloomberg BNA's authoritative coverage spans the full range of legal practice areas, including tax & accounting, labor & employment, intellectual property, banking & securities, employee benefits, health care, privacy & data security, human resources, and environment, health & safety.

SOURCE Bloomberg BNA


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