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The Ins and Outs of UK Unemployment

  • Jennifer C. Smith

This paper shows that in the UK, increases in unemployment in a recession are driven by rises in the separation rate. A new decomposition of unemployment dynamics is devised that does not require unemployment to be in steady state at all times. This is important because low UK transition rates – one quarter the size of the US –imply substantial deviation of unemployment from steady state near cyclical turning points. In periods of moderation, the job finding rate is shown to have most influence on UK unemployment dynamics. Evidence comes from the first study of monthly data derived from individuals’ labour market spells recorded in the British Household Panel Survey from 1988 to 2008.

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 121 (2011)
Issue (Month): 552 (05)
Pages: 402-444

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:121:y:2011:i:552:p:402-444
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  1. Abowd, John M & Zellner, Arnold, 1985. "Estimating Gross Labor-Force Flows," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(3), pages 254-83, June.
  2. Shigeru Fujita & Garey Ramey, 2007. "The cyclicality of separation and job finding rates," Working Papers 07-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  3. Regis Barnichon, 2009. "Vacancy posting, job separation and unemployment fluctuations," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-35, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Michael Elsby & Bart Hobijn & Aysegul Sahin, 2008. "Unemployment Dynamics in the OECD," NBER Working Papers 14617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gary Solon & Ryan Michaels & Michael W. L. Elsby, 2009. "The Ins and Outs of Cyclical Unemployment," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 84-110, January.
  6. Elsby, Michael W.L. & Smith, Jennifer C. & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 2011. "The role of worker flows in the dynamics and distribution of UK unemployment," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 962, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. Yashiv, Eran, 2006. "U.S. Labor Market Dynamics Revisited," IZA Discussion Papers 2455, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Gertler, Mark & Trigari, Antonella, 2006. "Unemployment fluctuation with staggered Nash wage bargaining," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/09, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  9. Robert Shimer, 2012. "Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 127-148, April.
  10. Ramey, Garey & Shigeru Fujita, 2006. "The Cyclicality of Job Loss and Hiring," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt4nz8p839, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
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