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A closer look at nonparticipants during and after the Great Recession


  • Julie L. Hotchkiss
  • M. Melinda Pitts
  • Fernando Rios-Avila


This paper uses matched individual-level data from the Current Population Survey to determine that around the 2008 recession, there was a significant upward shift in trend of the share of labor force leavers giving "Schooling" and "Other" as the reason for absence from the labor market. This trend shift is observed primarily among workers between the ages of 25 and 54 and is widespread across all educational groups with at least a high school degree. In addition, the upward shift in the trend of the schooling reason share occurred among workers previously employed in occupations and industries with varying degrees of job losses during the recession. This shift suggests it was a widespread phenomenon and not isolated among sectors or occupations that suffered the most during the recession. The implication is that the upward shift in the schooling reason share has more likely been a response to lower opportunity costs of schooling during economic downturns rather than the result of workers trying to overcome skill mismatch in the labor market. In addition, since transition rates to the labor force are highest among those giving "Schooling" and "Other" as reasons for absence, the decline in labor force participation since 2008 is likely more transitory than permanent.

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  • Julie L. Hotchkiss & M. Melinda Pitts & Fernando Rios-Avila, 2012. "A closer look at nonparticipants during and after the Great Recession," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2012-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2012-10

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Robert E. Hall, 2015. "Quantifying the Lasting Harm to the US Economy from the Financial Crisis," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 71-128.
    2. Robert E. Hall, 2014. "Quantifying the Lasting Harm to the U.S. Economy from the Financial Crisis," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2014, Volume 29, pages 71-128 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Regis Barnichon & Andrew Figura, 2016. "Declining Desire to Work and Downward Trends in Unemployment and Participation," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 449-494.
    4. Christopher J. Erceg & Andrew T. Levin, 2014. "Labor Force Participation and Monetary Policy in the Wake of the Great Recession," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 46(S2), pages 3-49, October.
    5. Parantap Basu, 2014. "Quantitative Easing in an Endogenous Growth Model," CEGAP Working Papers 2014_01, Durham University Business School.
    6. Alan B. Krueger & Judd Cramer & David Cho, 2014. "Are the Long-Term Unemployed on the Margins of the Labor Market?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 48(1 (Spring), pages 229-299.
    7. Barnichon, Regis & Figura, Andrew, 2013. "Declining Labor Force Attachment and Downward Trends in Unemployment and Participation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-88, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Fernando Rios-Avila, 2015. "Losing Ground: Demographic Trends in US Labor Force Participation," Economics Policy Note Archive 15-7, Levy Economics Institute.

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