Arlington, Va. (June 14, 2011) – Having retreated from levels observed in the first quarter of 2010, median monthly job absence rates in the first quarter of 2011 are at the same levels as those reported in the first quarter of 2009. Employee absence rates averaged 0.6 percent of scheduled worker days through the first three months of 2011. This 0.6 percent figure marks a decline from the previous quarter (0.7 percent) and is down from the 0.8 percent rate recorded in the first quarter of 2010.
Despite the harsh winter, absences (excluding long-term absences and partial days out) bucked the typical seasonal pattern by declining, rather than increasing over fourth quarter levels. The median rate of unscheduled absences fell from 0.7 percent in December 2010 to 0.5 percent in January 2011 before rising to 0.6 percent in February and March of this year.
The decline in job absence rates held across major industry sectors, region, and company size. In manufacturing companies, the absence rate through the first quarter of 2011 was 0.6 percent, down from 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2010. Nonmanufacturing employers reported a four-tenths of a point decline in absences from the first quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011 (from 0.9 percent to 0.5 percent). Nonbusiness employers reported an even larger six-tenths of a point decline (from 1.2 percent to 0.6 percent). Finance companies reported a relatively small one-tenth of a point decline in absences (from 0.9 percent to 0.8 percent). Only health care organizations reported no change in unscheduled absences from the first quarter of 2010 to the first quarter of 2011 (0.5 percent).
As for turnover, voluntary median monthly separation rates (excluding layoffs, reductions-in-force, and departures of temporary staff) averaged 0.7 percent of employers’ workforces per month in the first quarter of 2011. This figure is up from the 0.6 percent recorded in the previous quarter but unchanged from the median monthly rate recorded in the first quarter of 2010 and through the last 12 months of 2010. Nevertheless, first quarter median monthly separation rates in 2010 and 2011 are up noticeably from the 0.5 percent figure observed in the first quarter of 2009.
The seasonal tendency for turnover to rise at the beginning of the year was mildly in evidence in the first quarter. Median monthly worker separations among surveyed employers rose from 0.6 percent in December to 0.7 percent in January, 0.6 percent in February, and 0.7 percent in March.
BNA’s survey of job absence and turnover rates has been conducted quarterly since 1974. This report is based on responses from 215 human resource and employee relations executives representing a cross-section of U.S. employers, both public and private. The full survey is available at www.bna.com/press.
Conrad Heibel(703) email@example.com
BNA is the leading independent publisher of print and electronic news and analysis for professionals in business and government. Through survey research, expert analysis, and in-depth reporting, BNA continues to advance the understanding and practice of human resources and labor relations within organizations. Visit BNA at www.bna.com.