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NY Times cites Ann Stevens

“There’s a myth that in the 1950s, everyone was very loyal to companies and companies were very loyal to people,” said Ann Huff Stevens, a professor of economics at the University of California, Davis. “But we always had a contingent work force that could be laid off at any time. They were called women.”

"THE immediate impact of the recession — widespread buyouts and layoffs — may be fading, but the fear of losing a job hangs over workplaces like a cloud of worry" says The New York Times in a recent article.

“There’s a myth that in the 1950s, everyone was very loyal to companies and companies were very loyal to people,” said Ann Huff Stevens, a professor of economics at the University of California, Davis. “But we always had a contingent work force that could be laid off at any time. They were called women.”

Professor Stevens cited a 1969 survey that asked people ages 58 to 62 how long they had their longest-held job. Twenty-two years was the average.

In 2004, the same question to the same age group elicited an answer of 21.8 years.

Professor Stevens has not looked at the data during and after the recent economic crisis, but she said workplace insecurity might be hitting higher paid, white-collar workers more than in the past.