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The Labor Market in the Great Recession

  • Michael W. Elsby
  • Bart Hobijn
  • Aysegul Sahin

From the perspective of a wide range of labor market outcomes, the recession that began in 2007 represents the deepest downturn in the postwar era. Early on, the nature of labor market adjustment displayed a notable resemblance to that observed in past severe downturns. During the latter half of 2009, however, the path of adjustment exhibited important departures from that seen during and after prior deep recessions. Recent data point to two warning signs going forward. First, the record rise in long-term unemployment may yield a persistent residue of long-term unemployed workers with weak search effectiveness. Second, conventional estimates suggest that the extension of Emergency Unemployment Compensation may have led to a modest increase in unemployment. Despite these forces, we conclude that the problems facing the U.S. labor market are unlikely to be as severe as the European unemployment problem of the 1980s.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15979.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Publication status: published as Michael W. L. Elsby & Bart Hobijn & Aysegul Sahin, 2010. "The Labor Market in the Great Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(1 (Spring), pages 1-69.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15979
Note: EFG LS ME
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