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New data on worker flows during business cycles

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Author Info

  • Hoyt Bleakley
  • Ann E. Ferris
  • Jeffrey C. Fuhrer

Abstract

The most obvious economic cost of recessions is that workers become involuntarily unemployed. During the average business cycle contraction, total employment declines by about 1.5 percent, the unemployment rate rises by 2.7 percentage points, and it takes almost two years before employment recovers its pre-recession level. Both fiscal policy and monetary policy are concerned with these business cycle deviations of employment from its "full-employment" or "equilibrium" level. The aggregate statistics on employment and unemployment mask economically important information about the composition of the unemployed and their experience over time. This paper examines the differential experience during a business cycle of those who quit their jobs, those who are on layoff subject to future recall, and those who suffer permanent job separations. Using a new data set that assembles the flows of workers into and out of unemployment, employment, and not-in-the-labor- force, the authors examine the behavior over time of workers who enter and leave the ranks of the unemployed, grouped by the reason for unemployment. They find that a closer look at the flows into and out of unemployment that lie beneath changes in total unemployment improves forecasts of inflation and unemployment, relative to standard models.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in its journal New England Economic Review.

Volume (Year): (1999)
Issue (Month): Jul ()
Pages: 49-76

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbne:y:1999:i:jul:p:49-76

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Related research

Keywords: Business cycles ; Employment (Economic theory) ; Unemployment ; Labor supply ; Labor mobility ; Recessions;

References

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  1. Fallick, Bruce Chelimsky, 1996. "The hiring of new labor by expanding industries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 25-42, August.
  2. Lancaster, Tony, 1979. "Econometric Methods for the Duration of Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 939-56, July.
  3. Nickell, Stephen J, 1979. "Estimating the Probability of Leaving Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1249-66, September.
  4. repec:fth:prinin:382 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Christopher L. Foote, 1998. "Trend Employment Growth And The Bunching Of Job Creation And Destruction," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 809-834, August.
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  14. Tobin, James, 1972. "Inflation and Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 1-18, March.
  15. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, December.
  16. Anne E. Polivka & Stephen M. Miller, 1998. "The CPS after the Redesign: Refocusing the Economic Lens," NBER Chapters, in: Labor Statistics Measurement Issues, pages 249-289 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Finis Welch, 1993. "Matching the Current Population Surveys," Stata Technical Bulletin, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(12).
  18. Poterba, James M & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "Reporting Errors and Labor Market Dynamics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1319-38, November.
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