Business Cycle Properties of Job Polarization Using Consistent Occupational Data
A significant obstacle to studying business cycle properties of job polarization has been the presence of inconsistencies in aggregate employment data for different occupation groups. In order to overcome this problem, we construct aggregate hours series using the method of 'conversion factors', which was originally developed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. After showing that our data outperform previously available data in terms of consistency, we analyze two business cycle properties of job polarization that have not yet been studied before: (1) the changes in volatility of employment of each occupation group since the mid-1980s and (2) the asymmetric effects of recessions on employment of different occupation groups. We find that employment volatility of middle-skill occupations has decreased by 40% since the mid-1980s due to jobless recoveries observed in the last three recessions.
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