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A historical look at the labor market during recessions


  • Enrique Martínez-García
  • Janet Koech


Turmoil in housing, credit and financial markets plunged the U.S. economy into a recession that has taken a heavy toll on the labor market. The weakness that began during the second half of 2007 gravely worsened during a period of extreme financial stress in 2008, and the labor market has yet to recover. To put the recession's labor-market impact into perspective, we compare the past two years to previous downturns, including the Great Depression. We also examine the data commonly used to assess labor market conditions. While unemployment rates and nonfarm payroll losses are widely reported, a firm grasp of what they measure is critical to understanding what they tell us about the current state of the labor market.

Suggested Citation

  • Enrique Martínez-García & Janet Koech, 2010. "A historical look at the labor market during recessions," Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, vol. 5(jan).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:feddel:y:2010:i:jan:n:v.5no.1

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:sae:ilrrev:v:70:y:2017:i:5:p:1111-1145 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. David Neumark & Diego Grijalva, 2013. "The Employment Effects of State Hiring Credits During and After the Great Recession," NBER Working Papers 18928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. David Neumark & Diego Grijalva, 2017. "The Employment Effects of State Hiring Credits," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 70(5), pages 1111-1145, October.

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    Recessions ; Labor market ; Unemployment;


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