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Firms' relative sensitivity to aggregate shocks and the dynamics of gross job flows

  • Eugenio P. Pinto
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    We propose a measure for the importance of aggregate shocks for fluctuations in job flows at the firm level. Using data for the Portuguese economy, we find that large and old firms exhibit higher relative sensitivity to aggregate shocks and have a disproportional influence over the dynamics of aggregate job reallocation. In the overall economy, since large and old firms reallocate jobs less procyclically than small and young firms, job reallocation is less procyclical than if firm size and age classes were equally sensitive to aggregate shocks. A similar result applies in the manufacturing and the transportation and public utilities sectors. However, in the services and retail trade sectors the reallocation patterns are more similar across firm size and age, likely reflecting the expansion of existing and the creation of new industries. We conclude that large and old firms seem relatively more important to assess the state of the business cycle.

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    Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2009-02.

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    Date of creation: 2009
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2009-02
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    1. Wenli Li & John A. Weinberg, 1999. "Firm-specific learning and the investment behavior of large and small firms," Working Paper 99-03, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    2. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Jonas D.M.Fisher, 2000. "Idiosyncratic Risk and Aggregate Employment Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 7936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Burgess, Simon & Lane, Julia & Stevens, David, 2000. " The Reallocation of Labour and the Lifecycle of Firms," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 62(0), pages 885-907, Special I.
    4. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1990. "Gross Job Creation and Destruction: Microeconomic Evidence and Macroeconomic Implications," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1990, Volume 5, pages 123-186 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, June.
    6. Steve J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1991. "Gross job creation, gross job destruction and employment reallocation," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues 91-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    7. Christopher L. Foote, 1998. "Trend Employment Growth And The Bunching Of Job Creation And Destruction," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 809-834, August.
    8. Boeri, Tito, 1996. "Is Job Turnover Countercyclical?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(4), pages 603-25, October.
    9. Davis, Steven J. & Haltiwanger, John, 1999. "Gross job flows," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 41, pages 2711-2805 Elsevier.
    10. Pedro Portugal & Olivier Blanchard, 2001. "What Hides Behind an Unemployment Rate: Comparing Portuguese and U.S. Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 187-207, March.
    11. Timothy Dunne & John Haltiwanger & John Baldwin, 1994. "A Comparison of Job Creation and Job Destruction in Canada and the United States," Working Papers 94-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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