ARLINGTON, Va., March 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Absenteeism in 2011 has eclipsed the record lows observed in 2009, according to a survey of 344 U.S. employers conducted by Bloomberg BNA. Through 2011, median rates of unscheduled employee absences (excluding long-term absences and partial days out) averaged 0.6 percent of scheduled worker days per month. They are down from the 0.8 percent levels observed in 2010 and, the 0.7 percent in 2009, and are at a 10-year low—well below the absence rates of 1.3 percent or more observed from 1985 to 2006.
Departing from typical seasonal patterns, absence rates did not rise from the third to fourth quarter with the onset of winter. Median monthly absence rates in the fourth quarter averaged 0.6 percent of scheduled work days, unchanged from absence rates in the first and third quarters, and down only slightly from the rate of 0.7 percent observed in the second quarter of 2011. Median monthly absence rates were identical in October, November, and December of 2011 (0.6 percent).
After falling to historic lows in 2009, turnover rebounded in 2010 and has maintained this same level in 2011. Voluntary median monthly separation rates averaged 0.7 percent of employers' workforces per month in 2011, unchanged from levels recorded in 2010 but up two-tenths of a point since 2009 (0.5 percent).
Turnover was only one-tenth of a point higher in the second quarter of 2011 than in 2010 but was the same in the first, third, and fourth quarters. Separation rates increased from 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010 to 0.7 percent in the first and second quarters of 2011. This was followed by a two-tenths of a point jump to 0.9 percent in the third quarter and a retreat to 0.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, in line with typical seasonal patterns. Separation rates declined from 0.9 percent in September to 0.7 percent in October and 0.5 percent in November and December.
The survey also finds:
Year-over-year absence rates increased slightly in the Western states and in organizations with 500 to 999 employees but were down in all other regions of the country, all other categories of workforce size, and across all surveyed industry sectors.
The largest declines in absence rates were observed in organizations with 1,000 to 2,499 employees and in health care institutions.
In manufacturing firms, absence rates through December 2011 declined two-tenths of a point (from 0.8 percent to 0.6 percent) compared with the same period one year ago.
Regionally, monthly absence rates from 2010 to 2011 were down one-tenth of a point in the Northeast (from 0.9 to 0.8 percent), and two-tenths of a point in the Southern (from 0.7 percent to 0.5 percent) and North Central states (from 0.8 percent to 0.6 percent). Only the West bucked this general declining trend, with a two-tenths of a point increase in absences (from 0.6 percent to 0.8 percent).
Full copies of the survey are available to working press. Please email [email protected].
This survey is conducted quarterly with a panel of human resource executives representing organizations throughout the United States. Of the 344 employers responding in time for tabulation of this survey, 49 percent have fewer than 250 workers, 17 percent have workforces of 250 to 499 employees, 13 percent employ 500 to 999 workers, 8 percent have workforces of 1,000 to 2,499 employees, and 13 percent employ at least 2,500 workers. By industry, 26 percent of the organizations are manufacturing companies, 48 percent are nonmanufacturing firms, and 26 percent are nonbusiness establishments. By region, 19 percent of the employers are located in the Northeast, 34 percent are in the South, 30 percent operate in the North Central states, and 17 percent are located in the West. Total employment of the reporting organizations: 556,409.
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