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Post-recession US employment through the lens of a non-linear Okun’s law

  • Menzie Chinn
  • Laurent Ferrara
  • Valérie Mignon

This paper aims at investigating the relationship between employment and GDP in the United States. We disentangle trend and cyclical employment components by estimating a non-linear Okun’s law based on a smooth transition error-correction model that simultaneously accounts for long-term relationships between growth and employment and short-run instability over the business cycle. Our findings based on out-of-sample conditional forecasts show that, since the exit of the 2008-09 recession, US employment is on average around 1% below the level implied by the long run output-employment relationship, meaning that about 1.2 million of the trend employment loss cannot be attributed to the identified cyclical factors.

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File URL: http://economix.fr/pdf/dt/2013/WP_EcoX_2013-12.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX in its series EconomiX Working Papers with number 2013-12.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:drm:wpaper:2013-12
Contact details of provider: Postal: 200 Avenue de la République, Bât. G - 92001 Nanterre Cedex
Web page: http://economix.fr
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  1. Jesse Rothstein, 2012. "The Labor Market Four Years into the Crisis: Assessing Structural Explanations," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 65(3), pages 437-500, July.
  2. Benati, Luca, 2006. "Drift and Breaks in Labour Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 5801, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Edward S. Knotek & II, 2007. "How useful is Okun's law?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 73-103.
  4. Edward P. Lazear & James R. Spletzer, 2012. "The United States Labor Market: Status Quo or A New Normal?," NBER Working Papers 18386, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Zinzhu Chen & Prakash Kannan & Prakash Loungani & Bharat Trehan, 2011. "New evidence on cyclical and structural sources of unemployment," Working Paper Series 2011-17, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  6. Viren, Matti, 2001. "The Okun curve is non-linear," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 253-257, February.
  7. Li, Jing, 2011. "Bootstrap prediction intervals for SETAR models," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 320-332.
  8. James Morley & Jeremy Piger, 2012. "The Asymmetric Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 208-221, February.
  9. Eitrheim, Oyvind & Terasvirta, Timo, 1996. "Testing the adequacy of smooth transition autoregressive models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 59-75, September.
  10. Brian Silverstone & Richard Harris, 2001. "Testing for asymmetry in Okun's law: A cross-country comparison," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 5(2), pages 1-13.
  11. Frédérique BEC & Othman BOUABDALLAH & Laurent FERRARA, 2011. "The Possible Shapes of Recoveries in Markov-Switching Models," Working Papers 2011-02, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  12. van Dijk, Dick & Teräsvirta, Timo & Franses, Philip Hans, 2000. "Smooth Transition Autoregressive Models - A Survey of Recent Developments," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 380, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 17 Jan 2001.
  13. Laure Turner & Hervé Boulhol, 2008. "Recent Trends and Structural Breaks in US and EU15 Labour Productivity Growth," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 628, OECD Publishing.
  14. Owyang, Michael T. & Sekhposyan, Tatevik, 2012. "Okun’s law over the business cycle: was the great recession all that different?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 399-418.
  15. Lee, Jim, 2000. "The Robustness of Okun's Law: Evidence from OECD Countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 331-356, April.
  16. Terasvirta, T & Anderson, H M, 1992. "Characterizing Nonlinearities in Business Cycles Using Smooth Transition Autoregressive Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(S), pages S119-36, Suppl. De.
  17. Marcello M. Estevão & Evridiki Tsounta, 2011. "Has the Great Recession Raised U.S. Structural Unemployment?," IMF Working Papers 11/105, International Monetary Fund.
  18. Li, Jing, 2011. "Bootstrap prediction intervals for SETAR models," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 320-332, April.
  19. Laurence M. Ball & Daniel Leigh & Prakash Loungani, 2013. "Okun's Law: Fit at Fifty?," NBER Working Papers 18668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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