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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. 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.
  2. Eran Yashiv, 2007. "U.S. labor market dynamics revisited," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19665, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Mark Gertler & Antonella Trigari, 2006. "Unemployment Fluctuations with Staggered Nash Wage Bargaining," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 525, Society for Computational Economics.
  4. Robert Shimer, 2007. "Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 13421, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Michael W. L. Elsby & Bart Hobijn & Ayşegül Şahin, 2013. "Unemployment Dynamics in the OECD," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 530-548, May.
  9. Shigeru Fujita & Garey Ramey, 2006. "The cyclicality of job loss and hiring," Working Papers 06-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  10. 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.
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