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The Great Recession In The Uk Labour Market: A Transatlantic Perspective

  • Michael W.L. Elsby

    (University of Michigan and NBER)

  • Jennifer C. Smith

    (University of Warwick)

The increase in unemployment in the United Kingdom that accompanied the Great Recession has been conspicuous by its moderation. The rise in joblessness is dwarfed by the recent experience of the United States, by past recessionary episodes in the UK and by the contraction in GDP in the UK. Increased rates of job loss have played a dominant role in shaping the rise in British unemployment. Unemployment duration has not increased to the levels seen in previous recessions, in contrast to the US where duration substantially exceeds previous peaks. Looking forward, the UK labour market appears to have adjusted fully to the shocks that prompted the recession. Signs of reductions in match efficiency witnessed recently in the US are not mirrored in the UK. In contrast, while long-term unemployment currently remains well below historical levels, recent estimates of job finding rates suggest that it has the potential to rise much further. Thus, a timely recovery in aggregate demand will play an important role in averting persistently high unemployment in the future.

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Article provided by National Institute of Economic and Social Research in its journal National Institute Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 214 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (October)
Pages: R26-R37

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Handle: RePEc:sae:niesru:v:214:y:2010:i:1:p:r26-r37
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