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Employment patterns during the recovery: Who are getting the jobs and why?

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  • Aysegül Sahin
  • Jonathan L. Willis

Abstract

Employment gains during the recovery have differed sharply depending on workers' level of education, age, and gender. Workers with high levels of education, workers age 55 and older, and men have experienced the strongest employment gains in the recovery. ; Sahin and Willis analyze these employment patterns and find that the patterns appear to reflect two key factors: long-term trends and cyclical fluctuations. The strong employment growth for highly educated and older workers is a continuation of longer term shifts toward a more highly educated workforce and the aging of the baby boom generation. The employment gains for men are associated with men having a stronger cyclical attachment to the labor force when labor market conditions are weak. ; Employment and population patterns suggest that weak demand rather than a mismatch of workers and jobs is the primary explanation for the sluggish recovery. While highly educated workers have experienced the largest job gains, the demand for these workers has not kept pace with the growing population of highly educated workers. Regarding the skewed gains for men, evidence suggests that men are more likely to accept less desirable employment opportunities in periods of weak labor demand, signified by high unemployment and falling wages.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its journal Economic Review.

Volume (Year): (2011)
Issue (Month): Q III ()
Pages: 5-34

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedker:y:2011:i:qiii:p:5-34:n:v.96no.3

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  1. Stephanie Aaronson & Bruce Fallick & Andrew Figura & Jonathan Pingle & William Wascher, 2006. "The Recent Decline in the Labor Force Participation Rate and Its Implications for Potential Labor Supply," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 37(1), pages 69-154.
  2. Mueller, Andreas I., 2012. "Separations, Sorting and Cyclical Unemployment," IZA Discussion Papers 6849, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Katharine Abraham & John Haltiwanger & Kristin Sandusky & James Spletzer, 2009. "Exploring Differences in Employment between Household and Establishment Data," Working Papers 09-09, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  4. Kristie M. Engemann & Howard J. Wall, 2010. "The effects of recessions across demographic groups," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 1-26.
  5. Mark A. Aguiar & Erik Hurst & Loukas Karabarbounis, 2011. "Time Use During Recessions," NBER Working Papers 17259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Kimmel, Jean & Kniesner, Thomas J., 1998. "New evidence on labor supply:: Employment versus hours elasticities by sex and marital status," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 289-301, July.
  7. Jacob Mincer, 1991. "Education and Unemployment of Women," NBER Working Papers 3837, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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