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Why Does Employment in All Major Sectors Move Together over the Business Cycle?

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  • Yaniv Yedid-Levi

    (The University of British Columbia)

Abstract

In recessions, employment falls in all major sectors. Positive correlation of employment across sectors is a puzzle, because a standard two-sector business-cycle model driven by aggregate productivity shocks predicts negative correlation of total hours of work in the consumption-goods sector and the investment-goods sector. I start from the observation that most of the variability of total hours worked takes the form of variations in the number of workers. Hours per employed worker is only a secondary source of variation. The exten- sive margin is therefore critical in understanding the positive correlation of sectoral labor market variables, yet neglected by existing studies. This paper advances the literature on cross-sectoral correlation of employment by making unemployment an explicit feature of the model. I construct a two sector model with search and matching friction, capital ad- justment costs, and partial wage stickiness. The model explains the positive cross-sectoral correlation through movements of workers in both sectors into and out of unemployment.

Suggested Citation

  • Yaniv Yedid-Levi, 2012. "Why Does Employment in All Major Sectors Move Together over the Business Cycle?," 2012 Meeting Papers 677, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed012:677
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    Cited by:

    1. Dossche, Maarten & Lewis, Vivien & Poilly, Céline, 2019. "Employment, hours and the welfare effects of intra-firm bargaining," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 67-84.
    2. Steven Cassou & Jesús Vázquez, 2014. "Employment comovements at the sectoral level over the business cycle," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(4), pages 1301-1323, June.
    3. Jaimovich, Nir & Saporta-Eksten, Itay & Siu, Henry & Yedid-Levi, Yaniv, 2021. "The macroeconomics of automation: Data, theory, and policy analysis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 1-16.
    4. Alban Moura, 2018. "Investment Shocks, Sticky Prices, and the Endogenous Relative Price of Investment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 27, pages 48-63, January.
    5. Hafstead, Marc A.C. & Williams, Roberton C., 2018. "Unemployment and environmental regulation in general equilibrium," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 50-65.
    6. Christian vom Lehn & Thomas Winberry, 2018. "The Changing Nature of Sectoral Comovement," 2018 Meeting Papers 277, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Alban Moura, 2018. "Investment Shocks, Sticky Prices, and the Endogenous Relative Price of Investment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 27, pages 48-63, January.
    8. Sumru Altug & Serdar Kabaca, 2017. "Search Frictions, Financial Frictions, and Labor Market Fluctuations in Emerging Markets," Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(1), pages 128-149, January.
    9. Everett B. Peterson, 2019. "Incorporating Unemployment into the GTAP Model," Journal of Global Economic Analysis, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University, vol. 4(2), pages 67-107, December.
    10. Sumru Altug & Serdar Kabaca & Meltem Poyraz, 2011. "Search Frictions, Financial Frictions and Labor Market Fluctuations in Emerging Economies," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1136, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
    11. Domenico Ferraro, 2018. "The Asymmetric Cyclical Behavior of the U.S. Labor Market," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 30, pages 145-162, October.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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