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Whatever happened to the business cycle? a Bayesian analysis of jobless recoveries

Listed author(s):
  • Kristie M. Engemann
  • Michael T. Owyang

During the typical recovery from U.S. post-War period economic downturns, employment recovers to its pre-recession level within months of the output trough. However, during the last two recoveries, employment has taken up to two years to achieve its pre-recession benchmark. We propose a formal empirical model of business cycles with recovery periods to demonstrate that the last two recoveries have been statistically different from previous experiences. We find that this difference can be attributed to a shift in the speed of transition between business cycle regimes. Moreover, we find this shift results from both durable and non-durable manufacturing sectors losing their cyclical characteristics. We argue that this finding of acyclicality in post-1980 manufacturing sectors is consistent with previous hypotheses (e.g., improved inventory management) regarding the reduction in macroeconomic volatility over the same period. These results suggest a link between the two phenomena, which have heretofore been studied separately.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2007-013.

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Date of creation: 2007
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2007-013
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  1. Jordá, Óscar & Escribano, Álvaro, 1997. "Testing nonlinearity: decision rules for selecting between logistic and exponential star models," DES - Working Papers. Statistics and Econometrics. WS 6216, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Estadística.
  2. Michael T. Owyang & Jeremy Piger & Howard J. Wall & Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, 2006. "A State-Level Analysis of the Great Moderation," Computing in Economics and Finance 2006 131, Society for Computational Economics.
  3. Jeremy Piger & James Morley & Chang-Jin Kim, 2005. "Nonlinearity and the permanent effects of recessions," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(2), pages 291-309.
  4. Mark J. Holmes & Brian Silverstone, 2005. "Okun's Law, Asymmetries and Jobless Recoveries in the United States: A Markov-Switching Approach," Working Papers in Economics 05/06, University of Waikato, Department of Economics.
  5. Margaret M. McConnell & Gabriel Perez-Quiros, 2000. "Output fluctuations in the United States: what has changed since the early 1980s?," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue Mar.
  6. Daniel J. Vine & Valerie A. Ramey, 2006. "Declining Volatility in the U.S. Automobile Industry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1876-1889, December.
  7. Chib S. & Jeliazkov I., 2001. "Marginal Likelihood From the Metropolis-Hastings Output," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 96, pages 270-281, March.
  8. Hamilton, James D, 1989. "A New Approach to the Economic Analysis of Nonstationary Time Series and the Business Cycle," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 357-384, March.
  9. Hedibert F. Lopes & Esther Salazar, 2006. "Bayesian Model Uncertainty In Smooth Transition Autoregressions," Journal of Time Series Analysis, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(1), pages 99-117, 01.
  10. Arthur F. Burns & Wesley C. Mitchell, 1946. "Measuring Business Cycles," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number burn46-1, September.
  11. Kathryn Koenders & Richard Rogerson, 2005. "Organizational dynamics over the business cycle: a view on jobless recoveries," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jul, pages 555-580.
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