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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
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Macroeconomics Volume 42, December 2014, Pages 118–129 Cover image Explaining US employment growth after the great recession: The role of output–employment non-linearities Menzie Chinna, , , Laurent Ferrarab, , Valérie Mignonc,
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19047
Note: EFG
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Edward P. Lazear & James R. Spletzer, 2012. "The United States Labor Market: Status Quo or A New Normal?," Working Papers 12-28, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. van Dijk, Dick & Teräsvirta, Timo & Franses, Philip Hans, 2000. "Smooth Transition Autoregressive Models - A Survey of Recent Developments," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 380, Stockholm School of Economics, revised 17 Jan 2001.
  3. Lee, Jim, 2000. "The Robustness of Okun's Law: Evidence from OECD Countries," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 331-356, April.
  4. Laurence M. Ball & Daniel Leigh & Prakash Loungani, 2013. "Okun's Law: Fit at Fifty?," NBER Working Papers 18668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Jesse Rothstein, 2012. "The Labor Market Four Years into the Crisis: Assessing Structural Explanations," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 65(3), pages 437-500, July.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Li, Jing, 2011. "Bootstrap prediction intervals for SETAR models," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 320-332, April.
  13. Chen, Jinzhu & Kannan, Prakash & Loungani, Prakash & Trehan, Bharat, 2012. "New evidence on cyclical and structural sources of unemployment," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue March, pages 1-23.
  14. Benati, Luca, 2006. "Drift and Breaks in Labour Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 5801, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Eitrheim, Oyvind & Terasvirta, Timo, 1996. "Testing the adequacy of smooth transition autoregressive models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 59-75, September.
  16. Li, Jing, 2011. "Bootstrap prediction intervals for SETAR models," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 320-332.
  17. James Morley & Jeremy Piger, 2012. "The Asymmetric Business Cycle," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 208-221, February.
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  19. 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.
  20. repec:ema:worpap:2011-02 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. 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.
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