Individuals who have been terminated or laid off from employment, are unemployed due to economic conditions or natural disaster, are unemployed or underemployed spouses of active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces, or are displaced homemakers having trouble finding employment
Why it matters
Losing one’s job can have significant emotional, social, and financial consequences. Low-wage workers were displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic at higher rates than middle- and high-wage workers, according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution. Dislocated low-wage workers often do not have substantial savings or family economic support for backup. They may benefit from services to help them identify financial supports, navigate the emotional impacts of a job loss, and prepare to return to the workforce or pursue further education or training.
What to know about measurement
Under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), dislocated workers include individuals experiencing job instability due to a number of reasons, including but not limited to “job loss, mass layoffs, global trade dynamics, or transitions in economic sectors.” Displaced homemakers and spouses of active-duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces facing unemployment or underemployment and difficulty obtaining or upgrading employment are also included in the definition. Outside of workforce development programs, information on individuals’ status as dislocated workers is also captured in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine their expected family contribution.
This disaggregate is required for WIOA reporting. It did not appear in any other source frameworks reviewed for this report.
The framework's recommendations are based on syntheses of existing research. Please see the framework report for a list of works cited.