Employment Adjustment and Part-time Jobs: The US and the UK in the Great Recession
We document a new fact about the cyclical behavior of aggregate hours. Using microdata for the US and the UK, we show that changes in hours per worker are driven by fluctuations in part-time employment, which are in turn explained by the cyclical behavior of transitions between full-time and part-time jobs. This reallocation occurs almost exclusively within firms and entails large changes in employees’ schedules of working hours. These patterns are consistent with the view that employers adjust the hours of their employees in response to shocks, and they partly account for the poor recovery that followed the Great Recession.