I wish to examine job mobility of skilled labor in the US. Can I get the relevant information in CPS?

I wish to determine whether a survey respond has changed job at a particular time, what was the previous job (company name if possible, occupation, industry) and what is the current job (company name if possible, occupation, industry). I also wish to know the reason for the job change. Can I get these information items from the Current Population Surveys? If yes, please advise on where I can find the data. If not, then please advice on what other databases may have the information.

Oh, those economists dreaming… what if I were to stumble on some magical dataset that somebody else spent 10 years of their life and $2M of federal funding polishing… how wonderful to see those word bubbles form :).

This won’t be doable with CPS. But this could be doable with LEHD, which requires restricted access (which requires 6-9 months approval/clearance process… may be longer these days of IT security paranoia combined with Census underfunding). I very seriously doubt you can find the reason for the job change though.

I’ll stop here. Read up on LEHD and see what your next steps (with Cornell or with Census – these are heavily restricted data) should be.

If you are only interested in job mobility over a year time span, then the CPS may be of use.

The monthly CPS is a rotating panel design; households are interviewed for four consecutive months, are not in the sample for the next eight months, and then are interviewed for four more consecutive months. The rotating panel design means that for each month of the CPS, 50 percent of households are in the CPS during the same month one year earlier and the other 50% of households are in the CPS in the same month one year later. Any CPS household is in the survey up to 8 times over a 16 month period. There is no overlap for longer time intervals. You can find some more information about the CPS sample designs here.

The variable CPSIDP is an IPUMS-CPS defined variable that uniquely identifies individuals across CPS samples. Additionally, there are many work related variables available. In particular, you may be interested in the occupational variables, OCC1990 or OCC1950, and the industry variables, IND1990 and IND1950. There is also a variable, WHYLEFT (reports the reason for leaving their most recent job, for respondents who were not currently in the labor force but who had worked at a regular job or business within the past five years), which is available up until 1993.

If you’d like to create data extracts from IPUMS CPS, you’ll just first need to create an account.

However, if you are interested in evaluating job mobility over the course of an individual’s lifetime, then this is not possible with the CPS, but could be examinded via the LEHD.