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Generalized Matching Functions and Resource Utilization Indices for the Labor Market

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In the U.S. labor market unemployed individuals that are actively looking for work are more than three times as likely to become employed as those individuals that are not actively looking for work and are considered to be out of the labor force (OLF). Yet, on average, every month twice as many people make the transition from OLF to employment than do from unemployment. Based on these observations we have argued in Hornstein, Kudlyak, and Lange (2014) for an alternative measure of resource utilization in the labor market, a non-employment index, which is more comprehensive than the standard unemployment rate. In this article we show how the NEI fits into recent extensions of the matching function which is a standard macroeconomic approach to model labor markets with frictions, how it affects estimates of the extent of labor market frictions, and how these frictions have changed in the Great Recession.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2017-5.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 15 Feb 2017
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2017-05
DOI: 10.24148/wp2017-05
Note: This paper is forthcoming in the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond Economic Quarterly.
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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. Regis Barnichon & Andrew Figura, 2015. "Labor Market Heterogeneity and the Aggregate Matching Function," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 222-249, October.
  3. Christopher A. Pissarides & Barbara Petrongolo, 2001. "Looking into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 390-431, June.
  4. Hornstein, Andreas & Kudlyak, Marianna & Lange, Fabian, 2014. "Measuring Resource Utilization in the Labor Market," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue 1Q, pages 1-21.
  5. Robert Shimer, 2012. "Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 127-148, April.
  6. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, January.
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