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Declining Labor Force Attachment and Downward Trends in Unemployment and Participation

Author

Listed:
  • Barnichon, Regis

    (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.))

  • Figura, Andrew

    () (Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.))

Abstract

The U.S. labor market witnessed two apparently unrelated secular movements in the last 30 years: a decline in unemployment between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, and a decline in participation since the early 2000s. Using CPS micro data and a stock-flow accounting framework, we show that a substantial, and hitherto unnoticed, factor behind both trends is a decline in the share of nonparticipants who are at the margin of participation. A lower share of marginal nonparticipants implies a lower unemployment rate, because marginal nonparticipants enter the labor force mostly through unemployment, while other nonparticipants enter the labor force mostly through employment.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2013-88
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Stephanie Aaronson & Tomaz Cajner & Bruce Fallick & Felix Galbis-Reig & Christopher Smith & William Wascher, 2014. "Labor Force Participation: Recent Developments and Future Prospects," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 45(2 (Fall)), pages 197-275.
    2. Barnichon, Regis & Garda, Paula, 2016. "Forecasting unemployment across countries: The ins and outs," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 165-183.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unemployment rate; labor force participation rate; individuals marginally attached to the labor force;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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