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Post-recession US Employment through the Lens of a Non-linear Okun's law

  • Menzie D. Chinn
  • Laurent Ferrara
  • Valérie Mignon

This paper aims at investigating the relationship between employment and GDP in the United States. We disentangle trend and cyclical employment components by estimating a non-linear Okun's law based on a smooth transition error-correction model that simultaneously accounts for long-term relationships between growth and employment and short-run instability over the business cycle. Our findings based on out-of-sample conditional forecasts show that, since the exit of the 2008-09 recession, US employment is on average around 1% below the level implied by the long run output-employment relationship, meaning that about 1.2 million of the trend employment loss cannot be attributed to the identified cyclical factors.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19047.

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Date of creation: May 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19047
Note: EFG
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  1. James Morley & Jeremy Piger, 2012. "The Asymmetric Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 208-221, February.
  2. Terasvirta, T & Anderson, H M, 1992. "Characterizing Nonlinearities in Business Cycles Using Smooth Transition Autoregressive Models," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 7(S), pages S119-36, Suppl. De.
  3. Brian Silverstone & Richard Harris, 2001. "Testing for asymmetry in Okun's law: A cross-country comparison," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 5(2), pages 1-13.
  4. Eitrheim, Øyvind & Teräsvirta, Timo, 1995. "Testing the Adequacy of Smooth Transition Autoregressive Models," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 56, Stockholm School of Economics.
  5. Zinzhu Chen & Prakash Kannan & Prakash Loungani & Bharat Trehan, 2011. "New evidence on cyclical and structural sources of unemployment," Working Paper Series 2011-17, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  6. Edward P. Lazear & James R. Spletzer, 2012. "The United States labor market: status quo or a new normal?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 405-451.
  7. Li, Jing, 2011. "Bootstrap prediction intervals for SETAR models," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 320-332.
  8. Rothstein, Jesse, 2012. "The Labor Market Four Years Into the Crisis: Assessing Structural Explanations," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt2x576316, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  9. Benati, Luca, 2006. "Drift and Breaks in Labour Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 5801, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Viren, Matti, 2001. "The Okun curve is non-linear," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 253-257, February.
  11. Lee, Jim, 2000. "The Robustness of Okun's Law: Evidence from OECD Countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 331-356, April.
  12. Frédérique BEC & Othman BOUABDALLAH & Laurent FERRARA, 2011. "The Possible Shapes of Recoveries in Markov-Switching Models," Working Papers 2011-02, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  13. Marcello M. Estevão & Evridiki Tsounta, 2011. "Has the Great Recession Raised U.S. Structural Unemployment?," IMF Working Papers 11/105, International Monetary Fund.
  14. Edward S. Knotek & II, 2007. "How useful is Okun's law?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q IV, pages 73-103.
  15. van Dijk, D.J.C. & Terasvirta, T. & Franses, Ph.H.B.F., 2000. "Smooth transition autoregressive models - A survey of recent developments," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 2000-23/A, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
  16. Li, Jing, 2011. "Bootstrap prediction intervals for SETAR models," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 320-332, April.
  17. Owyang, Michael T. & Sekhposyan, Tatevik, 2012. "Okun’s law over the business cycle: was the great recession all that different?," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 399-418.
  18. Bec, Frédérique & Bouabdallah, Othman & Ferrara, Laurent, 2014. "The way out of recessions: A forecasting analysis for some Euro area countries," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 539-549.
  19. Laurence M. Ball & Daniel Leigh & Prakash Loungani, 2013. "Okun's Law: Fit at Fifty?," NBER Working Papers 18668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Laure Turner & Hervé Boulhol, 2008. "Recent Trends and Structural Breaks in US and EU15 Labour Productivity Growth," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 628, OECD Publishing.
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