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Labor Reallocation over the Business Cycle: New Evidence from Internal Migration

  • Saks, Raven E.

    ()

    (Federal Reserve Board)

  • Wozniak, Abigail

    ()

    (University of Notre Dame)

This paper establishes the cyclical properties of a novel measure of worker reallocation: long-distance migration rates within the US. This internal migration offers a bird’s eye view of worker reallocation in the economy as long-distance migrants often change jobs or employment status, altering the spatial allocation of labor. Using historical reports of the Current Population Survey (CPS), we examine gross migration patterns during the entire postwar era, a period that spans ten recessions over more than fifty years. We obtain additional evidence on inter-state and inter-metropolitan population flows during the past thirty years from statistics compiled by the Internal Revenue Service. We find that internal migration within the US is strongly procyclical in both sources. Even after accounting for variation in relative local economic conditions, migration is lower during downturns in the national economy. Using individual-level CPS data, we find that migration is procyclical for most major demographic and labor force groups, although it is strongest for younger workers. Our findings suggest that cyclical fluctuations in internal migration are driven by economy-wide changes in the net cost to worker reallocation with a major role for the job finding rate of young workers.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp2766.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2766.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Labor Economics, 2011, 29 (4). 697 - 739
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2766
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  1. Ricardo J. Caballero & Mohamad L. Hammour, 2005. "The Cost of Recessions Revisited: A Reverse-Liquidationist View," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(2), pages 313-341.
  2. Robert Shimer, 2007. "Mismatch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1074-1101, September.
  3. Northwestern University & Damba Lkhagvasuren, 2007. "Big Locational Differences in Unemployment Despite High Labor Mobility," 2007 Meeting Papers 922, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Steven J. Davis & R. Jason Faberman & John Haltiwanger, 2006. "The Flow Approach to Labor Markets: New Data Sources and Micro-Macro Links," NBER Working Papers 12167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Robert B. Barsky & Gary Solon, 1989. "Real Wages Over The Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 2888, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Gary Solon & Robert Barsky & Jonathan A. Parker, 1992. "Measuring the Cyclicality of Real Wages: How Important is Composition Bias," NBER Working Papers 4202, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ramey, Garey & Shigeru Fujita, 2006. "The Cyclicality of Job Loss and Hiring," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt4nz8p839, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  8. Michael Pries, 2008. "Worker Heterogeneity and Labor Market Volatility in Matching Models," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(3), pages 664-678, July.
  9. Pissarides, Christopher A & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 1989. "Unemployment and the Inter-regional Mobility of Labour," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 99(397), pages 739-55, September.
  10. Timothy J. Bartik, . "Who Benefits from Local Job Growth: Migrants or Original Residents?," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles tjb1993rs, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  11. Robert E. Hall, 2003. "Modern Theory of Unemployment Fluctuations: Empirics and Policy Applications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 145-150, May.
  12. Michael W. Elsby & Ryan Michaels & Gary Solon, 2007. "The Ins and Outs of Cyclical Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 12853, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Bruce Fallick & Charles A. Fleischman, 2004. "Employer-to-employer flows in the U.S. labor market: the complete picture of gross worker flows," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-34, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Abigail Wozniak, 2010. "Are College Graduates More Responsive to Distant Labor Market Opportunities?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(4), pages 944-970.
  15. Robert E. Hall, 2005. "Job Loss, Job Finding, and Unemployment in the U.S. Economy Over the Past Fifty Years," NBER Working Papers 11678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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