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The Unmeasured Labor Force, The Growth in Work Hours

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  • Barry Bluestone
  • Stephen Rose

Abstract

Is the current labor market as tight as official statistics would seem to indicate? If incumbent workers increase their hours of work, it is irrelevant to the unemployment rate, but hardly irrelevant to the level of labor supply. Bluestone and Rose find that job insecurity and stagnating wages have made Americans willing to work those extra hours to build a financial cushion, and a 1 percent increase in hours worked per worker for a fixed labor supply is equivalent in terms of labor supply to a 1 percent increase in the number of workers. This more realistic picture of labor supply has important implications for expectations that welfare recipients can easily find jobs, for reforms in labor market statistics to provide better information, and for the direction of monetary policy.

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  • Barry Bluestone & Stephen Rose, "undated". "The Unmeasured Labor Force, The Growth in Work Hours," Economics Public Policy Brief Archive ppb_39, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:levppb:ppb_39
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1994. "Monetary Policy, Business Cycles, and the Behavior of Small Manufacturing Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 309-340.
    2. Willem Thorbecke, 1997. "Disinflationary Monetary Policy and the Distribution of Income," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_185, Levy Economics Institute.
    3. Olivier Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "What We Know and Do Not Know about the Natural Rate of Unemployment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 51-72, Winter.
    4. Roland-Holst, David W & Sancho, Ferran, 1992. "Relative Income Determination in the United States: A Social Accounting Perspective," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 38(3), pages 311-327, September.
    5. Thorbecke, Willem, 2000. "Monetary Policy, Time-Varying Risk, and the Bond Market Debacle of 1994," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 159-174, January.
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