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Why Has the US Economy Recovered So Consistently from Every Recession in the Past 70 Years?

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  • Kudlyak, Marianna
  • Hall, Robert

Abstract

A remarkable fact about the historical US business cycle is that, after unemployment reached its peak in a recession, and a recovery begins, the annual reduction in the unemployment rate is stable at around one tenth of the current level of unemployment. We document this fact in a companion paper, Hall and Kudlyak (2020a). Here, we consider explanations for the surprising consistency of recoveries. We show that the evolution of the labor market from recession to recovery involves more than the direct effect of persistent unemployment of job-losers from the recession shock---unemployment during the recovery is above normal for people who did not lose jobs during the recession. We explore models of the labor market's self-recovery that imply gradual working off of unemployment following a recession shock. We emphasize the feedback from high unemployment to the forces driving job creation. These models also explain why the recovery of market-wide unemployment is so much slower than the rate at which individual unemployed workers find new jobs. The reasons include the fact that the path that individual job-losers follow back to stable employment often includes several brief interim jobs.

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  • Kudlyak, Marianna & Hall, Robert, 2021. "Why Has the US Economy Recovered So Consistently from Every Recession in the Past 70 Years?," CEPR Discussion Papers 15954, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:15954
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    Cited by:

    1. Congressional Budget Office, 2022. "A Markov-Switching Model of the Unemployment Rate: Working Paper 2022-05," Working Papers 57582, Congressional Budget Office.
    2. Hall, Robert E. & Kudlyak, Marianna, 2022. "The unemployed with jobs and without jobs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 79(C).
    3. Kurt Graden Lunsford, 2020. "Recessions and the Trend in the US Unemployment Rate," Economic Commentary, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, vol. 2021(01), pages 1-8, February.
    4. Hall, Robert E. & Kudlyak, Marianna, 2022. "The inexorable recoveries of unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 15-25.
    5. Brad Hershbein & Bryan Stuart, 2022. "The Evolution of Local Labor Markets After Recessions," Working Papers 22-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    6. Malak Kandoussi & François Langot, 2021. "On the heterogeneous impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown on US unemployment," TEPP Working Paper 2021-01, TEPP.
    7. Winters, John V., 2021. "Young and Hungry? Employment Levels for Young People During Spring 2021," IZA Discussion Papers 14508, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Kandoussi, Malak & Langot, François, 2020. "The Lockdown Impact on Unemployment for Heterogeneous Workers," IZA Discussion Papers 13439, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Business cycle; Recovery; Unemployment; Recession;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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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