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The Asymmetric Cyclical Behavior of the U.S. Labor Market

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  • Domenico Ferraro

    (Arizona State University)

Abstract

The employment rate in the United States fluctuates asymmetrically over the business cycle: it contracts deeply and sharply during recessions, but it recovers slowly and gradually during expansions. By contrast, aggregate output exhibits nearly symmetric fluctuations about trend. I explain these facts using an equilibrium business cycle model with search frictions in the labor market and worker heterogeneity in productivity, featuring endogenous job destruction and fluctuations in labor composition. The model predicts that the response of the employment rate to shocks greatly varies over the business cycle; notably, it raises in recessions and declines in expansions. (Copyright: Elsevier)

Suggested Citation

  • Domenico Ferraro, 2018. "The Asymmetric Cyclical Behavior of the U.S. Labor Market," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 30, pages 145-162, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:issued:16-161
    DOI: 10.1016/j.red.2018.05.005
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    Cited by:

    1. Kohlbrecher, Britta & Merkl, Christian, 2016. "Business Cycle Asymmetries and the Labor Market," IZA Discussion Papers 9816, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Francesco Zanetti & Konstantinos Theodoridis, 2018. "State Dependence in Labor Market Fluctuations: Evidence, Theory, and Policy Implications," Economics Series Working Papers 856, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    3. Domenico Ferraro & Giuseppe Fiori, 2018. "The Scarring Effect of Asymmetric Business Cycles," 2018 Meeting Papers 283, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. repec:spr:ijlaec:v:59:y:2016:i:2:d:10.1007_s41027-017-0055-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Canyon Bosler & Mary C. Daly & John G. Fernald & Bart Hobijn, 2017. "The Outlook for U.S. Labor-Quality Growth," NBER Chapters,in: Education, Skills, and Technical Change: Implications for Future U.S. GDP Growth, pages 61-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Gehrke, Britta & Weber, Enzo, 2018. "Identifying asymmetric effects of labor market reforms," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 18-40.
    7. Eleni Iliopulos & François Langot & Thepthida Sopraseuth, 2014. "Welfare Cost of Fluctuations: when Labor Market Search Interacts with Financial Frictions," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 14042, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    8. Francesco Corsello & Valerio Nispi Landi, 2018. "Labor market and financial shocks: a time varying analysis," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1179, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    9. Kasey Buckles & Daniel Hungerman & Steven Lugauer, 2018. "Is Fertility a Leading Economic Indicator?," NBER Working Papers 24355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Dongya Koh & Raül Santaeulàlia-Llopis, 2017. "Countercyclical Elasticity of Substitution," Working Papers 946, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    11. Antoine Lepetit, 2018. "Asymmetric Unemployment Fluctuations and Monetary Policy Trade-offs," Working Papers hal-01536416, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Business cycles; Cyclical asymmetry; Search frictions; Worker heterogeneity; Unemployment rate; Labor quality;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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