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Ready, willing, and able? Measuring labour availability in the UK

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  • Mark E Schweitzer

Abstract

The unemployment rate is commonly assumed to measure labour availability, but this ignores the fact that potential workers frequently come from outside the current set of labour market participants, the so-called inactive. The UK Longitudinal Labour Force Survey includes information that can be used to predict impending employment transitions. Using this unique dataset, new measures of labour availability, and indicators based on the more familiar unemployment rate alternatives, can be constructed and are reported here. The micro and macroeconomic performance of these labour force availability measures are compared. Two simplified models, which include several categories of reasons for not working as well as demographic variables, perform particularly well in all of the tests. The implications of these preferred models are further studied in the context of regional regressions and comparisons with alternative data sources. These results together illustrate the important role that some groups of the inactive can play as a source of potential workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark E Schweitzer, 2003. "Ready, willing, and able? Measuring labour availability in the UK," Bank of England working papers 186, Bank of England.
  • Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:186
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. repec:nsr:niesrd:184 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Bell, Brian & Nickell, Stephen & Quintini, Glenda, 2002. "Wage equations, wage curves and all that," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 341-360, July.
    4. Donna B. Gilleskie & Thomas A. Mroz, 2000. "Estimating the Effects of Covariates on Health Expenditures," NBER Working Papers 7942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Stephen R. G. Jones & W. Craig Riddell, 1999. "The Measurement of Unemployment: An Empirical Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 147-162, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aysit Tansel & H. Mehmet Taşçı, 2010. "Hazard Analysis of Unemployment Duration by Gender in a Developing Country: The Case of Turkey," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 24(4), pages 501-530, December.
    2. Andrew Brigden & Jonathan Thomas, 2003. "A matching model of non-employment and wage pressure," Bank of England working papers 208, Bank of England.
    3. Moffat, John & Yoo, Hong Il, 2015. "Who are the unemployed? Evidence from the United Kingdom," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 61-64.
    4. Latreille, Paul L. & Blackaby, David H. & Murphy, Philip D. & O'Leary, Nigel C. & Sloane, Peter J., 2006. "How Far and For How Much? Evidence on Wages and Potential Travel-to-Work Distances from a Survey of the Economically Inactive," IZA Discussion Papers 1976, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Katharine L. Bradbury, 2006. "Measurement of unemployment," Public Policy Brief, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    6. Vincenzo Cassino & Michael Joyce, 2003. "Forecasting inflation using labour market indicators," Bank of England working papers 195, Bank of England.

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