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TURNOVER RATES DOWN FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR; ABSENCES DECLINE IN 1991, BNA SURVEY FINDS

 TURNOVER RATES DOWN FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR;
 ABSENCES DECLINE IN 1991, BNA SURVEY FINDS
 WASHINGTON, March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The recession appears to have had a silver lining for employers -- lower rates of employee turnover and unscheduled absences -- according to the latest Quarterly Report on Job Absence and Turnover published by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. Rates of permanent separation fell for the second consecutive year, while job absence rates have been on a moderate decline since early 1991. Year-end averages of monthly absence and turnover rates in 1991 were the lowest recorded since the BNA survey began in 1974. BNA is a leading publisher of information services covering employee relations, business and economics, law, taxation, the environment, and other public policy issues.
 Turnover
 Median rates of permanent employee separation -- excluding departures of temporary staff and layoffs -- averaged 0.8 percent of the work force per month during 1991, down from 0.9 percent in 1990 and 1.1 percent in 1989. In all but two of the last 24 months, the median rate of permanent separation was lower than the rate recorded in the same month of the previous year. The two-year drop in turnover has been broad-based, although employers in some industries and regions have experienced steeper declines in separation rates:
 -- Manufacturing firms continue to report the lowest turnover rates (averaging 0.6 percent per month in 1991, compared with 0.8 percent in both 1989 and 1990.) However, declines in separation rates have been most pronounced in the non-manufacturing sector, falling from an average of 1.3 percent per month in 1989 to 1.1 percent in 1990 and 0.9 percent in 1991. Among "non-business" organizations (e.g., health care, education, government), the year- end average of median turnover rates (1.0 percent per month in 1991) has declined one-tenth of a point in each of the past two years, as has the year-end rate among health care establishments (1.3 percent). Health care organizations consistently have reported higher turnover than most other employers.
 -- By region, the downward trend in turnover has been sharpest in the West and Northeast. The average of separation rates among Western establishments (0.8 percent per month) and Northeastern employers (0.7 percent) are each down four-tenths of a percentage point from 1990 and six-tenths of a point lower than in 1989. The 1991 year-end averages among Southern (0.8 percent) and North Central firms (0.7 percent) represent much smaller declines in permanent separations.
 -- An analysis by work force size shows that companies with 2,500 workers recorded the lowest median separation rates in 1991 (averaging 0.6 percent per month), while employers with 250 to 499 workers experienced the highest turnover rates (0.9 percent). Firms with fewer than 250 workers and companies with 1,000 to 2,499 employees each recorded monthly median rates of permanent separation averaging 0.8 percent of their work forces, while the year-end average was 0.7 percent per month among organizations with 500 to 999 workers.
 Seasonal patterns in employee separations during 1991 were similar to those observed in previous years. As is typical for the end of the year, turnover fell steadily during the fourth-quarter months 1991. The median separation rate among all responding employers fell from 0.8 percent in September to 0.7 percent in October, 0.6 percent in November, and 0.5 percent in December.
 Absence
 Median rates of unscheduled absence averaged 1.7 percent of scheduled workdays during 1991, down from 1.8 percent in each of the past five years, and the lowest year-end average since the survey was first conducted in 1974. The median absence rate in each of the last nine months of 1991 was lower than the rate recorded for the same month in 1990.
 Analyses by industry, region and size show:
 -- Manufacturing firms lost an average of 1.6 percent of scheduled workdays to employee absence during 1991, down from 1.8 percent in 1990 and 1.9 percent in 1989. In contrast, the year-end average among non-manufacturing companies was 1.7 percent for the third straight year. Median absence rates remain highest among non- business establishments, despite declines in the full-year average from 2.1 percent in 1989 to 1.9 percent in 1990 and 1.8 percent in 1991.
 -- By region, median absence rates in 1991 were somewhat higher among Southern firms (averaging 1.9 percent) than among Western organizations (1.7 percent) and employers in the North Central and Northeastern states (1.6 percent each). Northeastern companies have experienced the sharpest declines in job absence; the year end average among firms in this region declined by two-tenths of a percentage point for the second consecutive year.
 -- Absenteeism remains lowest among smaller companies. In addition, the recent decline in unscheduled absences has occurred primarily among small firms. Employers with fewer than 250 workers reported median rates of unscheduled absence averaging 1.4 percent of scheduled workdays during 1991, down from 1.6 percent in 1990. Median absence averaged 1.6 percent among companies with 250 to 499 workers, compared with 1.7 percent a year ago. Year-end averages were higher among firms with 500 to 999 employees (1.8 percent), 1,000 to 2,499 workers (2.1 percent), and 2,500 or more employees (2.0 percent); these rates are each unchanged from a year ago.
 As with employee turnover, seasonal fluctuations in absenteeism during 1991 mirrored previous years. After three consecutive months at 1.6 percent (September to November), the median monthly absence rate rose to 1.8 percent in December. Absence rates typically begin to rise late in the year and reach their highest levels during the winter months.
 Surveys responses were received from 330 organizations nationwide. Respondents are human resources and employee relations executives representing a cross section of U.S. employers, both public and private.
 -0- 3/23/92
 /CONTACT: Emily Pilk of BNA, 202-452-4985/ CO: The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:


SB-MK -- DC020 -- 0548 03/23/92 11:46 EST
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Date:Mar 23, 1992
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