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Hiring, Churn and the Business Cycle

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  • Edward P. Lazear
  • James R. Spletzer

Abstract

Churn, defined as replacing departing workers with new ones as workers move to more productive uses, is an important feature of labor dynamics. The majority of hiring and separation reflects churn rather than hiring for expansion or separation for contraction. Using the JOLTS data, we show that churn decreased significantly during the most recent recession with almost four-fifths of the decline in hiring reflecting decreases in churn. Reductions in churn have costs because they reflect a reduction in labor movement to higher valued uses. We estimate the cost of reduced churn to be $208 billion. On an annual basis, this amounts to about .4% of GDP for a period of 3 1/2 years.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17910.

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Date of creation: Mar 2012
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Publication status: published as “Hiring, Churn, and the Business Cycle” (with Edward P. Lazear). American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, Vol. 102, No 3, May 2012, pp. 575-579.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17910

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  1. Burgess, Simon & Lane, Julia & Stevens, David, 1995. "Job Flows, Worker Flows and Churning," CEPR Discussion Papers 1125, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Cited by:
  1. Mukoyama, Toshihiko, 2014. "The cyclicality of job-to-job transitions and its implications for aggregate productivity," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 1-17.
  2. Haddow, Abigail & Hare, Chris & Hooley, John & Shakir, Tamarah, 2013. "Macroeconomic uncertainty: what is it, how can we measure it and why does it matter?," Bank of England Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England, vol. 53(2), pages 100-109.

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