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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. 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.
  2. Shigeru Fujita & Garey Ramey, 2009. "The Cyclicality Of Separation And Job Finding Rates," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(2), pages 415-430, 05.
  3. 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.
  4. Michael W. Elsby & Ryan Michaels & Gary Solon, 2007. "The Ins and Outs of Cyclical Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 12853, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Gertler, Mark & Trigari, Antonella, 2006. "Unemployment fluctuation with staggered Nash wage bargaining," CFS Working Paper Series 2007/09, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
  6. Michael Elsby & Bart Hobijn & Aysegül Sahin, 2009. "Unemployment dynamics in the OECD," Working Paper Series 2009-04, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  7. Shigeru Fujita & Garey Ramey, 2006. "The cyclicality of job loss and hiring," Working Papers 06-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  8. Michael W. L. Elsby & Jennifer C. Smith & Jonathan Wadsworth, 2011. "The Role of Worker Flows in the Dynamics and Distribution of UK Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp1058, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  9. Yashiv, Eran, 2006. "U.S. Labor Market Dynamics Revisited," IZA Discussion Papers 2455, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Barnichon, Regis, 2012. "Vacancy posting, job separation and unemployment fluctuations," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 315-330.
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