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Changes in the structure and duration of U.S. unemployment, 1967-1998

  • Robert G. Valletta

The unemployment rate is determined by the incidence and duration of unemployment spells. In this paper, I examine the time-series properties of unemployment incidence by reason and the duration of a typical unemployment spell. In line with earlier research, I find strong countercyclicality in unemployment. However, I also uncover an upward trend in duration that is entirely attributable to rising incidence and duration of permanent job loss. These changes in the structure and duration of unemployment have various policy implications.

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File URL: http://www.frbsf.org/econrsrch/econrev/98-3/29-40.pdf
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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its journal Economic Review.

Volume (Year): (1998)
Issue (Month): ()
Pages: 29-40

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfer:y:1998:p:29-40:n:3
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  1. George A. Akerlof & Brian G. M. Main, 1978. "Unemployment spells and unemployment experience," Special Studies Papers 123, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  2. John V. Duca, 1996. "Inflation, unemployment, and duration," Working Papers 9603, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  3. Newey, Whitney K & West, Kenneth D, 1987. "A Simple, Positive Semi-definite, Heteroskedasticity and Autocorrelation Consistent Covariance Matrix," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(3), pages 703-08, May.
  4. Michael Baker & Miles Corak & Andrew Heisz, 1998. "The Labour Market Dynamics of Unemployment Rates in Canada and the United States," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 24(s1), pages 72-89, February.
  5. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1979. "Labor Market Dynamics and Unemployemnt: A Reconsideration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(1), pages 13-72.
  6. William J. Baumol & Edward N. Wolff, 1998. "Speed of Technical Progress and Length of the Average Interjob Period," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_237, Levy Economics Institute.
  7. Valletta, Robert G, 1999. "Declining Job Security," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages S170-97, October.
  8. Baker, Michael, 1992. "Unemployment Duration: Compositional Effects and Cyclical Variability," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 313-21, March.
  9. Salant, Stephen W, 1977. "Search Theory and Duration Data: A Theory of Sorts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 39-57, February.
  10. Flinn, Christopher J & Heckman, James J, 1983. "Are Unemployment and Out of the Labor Force Behaviorally Distinct Labor Force States?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 28-42, January.
  11. Blanchard, Olivier Jean & Diamond, Peter A, 1994. "Ranking, Unemployment Duration, and Wages," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 417-34, July.
  12. Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 1987. "The Evolution of Unemployment in the United States: 1968 -- 1985," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1987, Volume 2, pages 11-68 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Corak, Miles & Heisz, Andrew, 1996. "Alternative Measures of the Average Duration of Unemployment," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 42(1), pages 63-74, March.
  14. Chinhui Juhn & Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 1991. "Why Has the Natural Rate of Unemployment Increased over Time?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 75-142.
  15. Lawrence F. Katz & Bruce D. Meyer, 1988. "Unemployment Insurance, Recall Expectations, And Unemployment Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 2594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Durbin, J, 1970. "Testing for Serial Correlation in Least-Squares Regression When Some of the Regressors are Lagged Dependent Variables," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(3), pages 410-21, May.
  17. George L. Perry, 1970. "Changing Labor Markets and Inflation," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 1(3), pages 411-448.
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