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Ready, willing, and able? Measuring labour availability in the UK

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  • Mark E Schweitzer

Abstract

The unemployment rate is commonly assumed to measure labour availability, but this ignores the fact that potential workers frequently come from outside the current set of labour market participants, the so-called inactive. The UK Longitudinal Labour Force Survey includes information that can be used to predict impending employment transitions. Using this unique dataset, new measures of labour availability, and indicators based on the more familiar unemployment rate alternatives, can be constructed and are reported here. The micro and macroeconomic performance of these labour force availability measures are compared. Two simplified models, which include several categories of reasons for not working as well as demographic variables, perform particularly well in all of the tests. The implications of these preferred models are further studied in the context of regional regressions and comparisons with alternative data sources. These results together illustrate the important role that some groups of the inactive can play as a source of potential workers.

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Paper provided by Bank of England in its series Bank of England working papers with number 186.

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Date of creation: Apr 2003
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Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:186

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  1. Flinn, Christopher J & Heckman, James J, 1983. "Are Unemployment and Out of the Labor Force Behaviorally Distinct Labor Force States?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 28-42, January.
  2. Stephen R. G. Jones & W. Craig Riddell, . "The Measurement Of Unemployment: An Empirical Approach," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 09, McMaster University.
  3. Brian Bell & Stephen Nickell & Glenda Quintini, 2000. "Wage equations, wage curves and all that," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20165, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. repec:nsr:niesrd:184 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. J.S. Cramer, 1998. "Predictive Performance of the Binary Logit Model in Unbalanced Samples," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-085/4, Tinbergen Institute.
  6. Donna B. Gilleskie & Thomas A. Mroz, 2000. "Estimating the Effects of Covariates on Health Expenditures," NBER Working Papers 7942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Andrew Brigden & Jonathan Thomas, 2003. "A matching model of non-employment and wage pressure," Bank of England working papers 208, Bank of England.
  2. Latreille, Paul L. & Blackaby, David H. & Murphy, Philip D. & O'Leary, Nigel C. & Sloane, Peter J., 2006. "How Far and For How Much? Evidence on Wages and Potential Travel-to-Work Distances from a Survey of the Economically Inactive," IZA Discussion Papers 1976, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Vincenzo Cassino & Michael Joyce, 2003. "Forecasting inflation using labour market indicators," Bank of England working papers 195, Bank of England.
  4. Katharine Bradbury, 2006. "Measurement of unemployment," Public Policy Brief, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

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