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Dynamics of Output and Employment in the U.S. Economy

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  • Deepankar Basu
  • Duncan K. Foley

Abstract

This paper investigates the changing relationship between employment and real output in the U.S. economy from 1948 to 2010 both at the aggregate level and at some major industry-grouping levels of disaggregation. Real output is conventionally measured as value added corrected for price inflation, but there are some industries in which no independent measure of value added is possible and existing statistics depend on imputing value added to equal income. Indexes of output that exclude these imputations are closely correlated with employment over the whole period, and remain more closely correlated during the current business cycle. This analysis o ffers insights into deeper structural changes that have taken place in the U.S. economy over the past few decades in a context marked by the following three factors: (i) the service (especially the financial) sector has grown in importance, (ii) the economy has become more globalized, and (iii) the policy orientation has increasingly become neoliberal. We demonstrate an economically signi ficant reduction in the coefficient relating employment growth to output growth over the business cycles since 1985. Some of this change is due to sectoral shifts toward services, but an important part of it reflects a reduction in the coefficient for the goods and material value-adding sectors.

Suggested Citation

  • Deepankar Basu & Duncan K. Foley, 2011. "Dynamics of Output and Employment in the U.S. Economy," Working Papers wp248, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
  • Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp248
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. "Heterodox Economists Don't Do Math" Reader
      by Mike Isaacson in Vulgar Economics on 2015-06-16 22:00:00

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    Cited by:

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    2. Marwil J. Dávila-Fernández, 2019. "Manufacture Content and Financialisation: An Empirical Assessment," Department of Economics University of Siena 811, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    3. Abdessalem GOUIDER & Ridha NOUIRA & Faouzi SBOUI, 2018. "La relation croissance-chômage en Tunisie : validation de la spécification non linéaire de la loi d’Okun," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 47, pages 27-41.
    4. Jacob Assa, 2016. "The Financialization of GDP and its Implications for Macroeconomic Debates," Working Papers 1610, New School for Social Research, Department of Economics.
    5. Afşin Şahin & Aysit Tansel & M. Hakan Berument, 2015. "Output–Employment Relationship Across Sectors: A Long- Versus Short-Run Perspective," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 265-288, July.
    6. Chinn, Menzie & Ferrara, Laurent & Mignon, Valérie, 2014. "Explaining US employment growth after the great recession: The role of output–employment non-linearities," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 118-129.
    7. Baki Güney Işıkara, 2021. "The Weight of Essentials in Economic Activity," Review of Radical Political Economics, Union for Radical Political Economics, vol. 53(1), pages 95-115, March.
    8. Jonathan F. Cogliano, 2017. "Surplus Value Production and Realization in Marxian Theory - Applications to the U.S., 1987-2015," Working Paper Series 2017-01, Dickinson College, Department of Economics.
    9. Jacob Assa, 2017. "Leveraged Growth: Endogenous Money and Speculative Credit in a Stock-flow Consistent Measure of Output," Working Papers 1727, New School for Social Research, Department of Economics.
    10. Deepankar Basu, 2017. "Quantitative Empirical Research In Marxist Political Economy: A Selective Review," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(5), pages 1359-1386, December.
    11. Afşin Şahin & Aysit Tansel & M. Hakan Berument, 2015. "Output–Employment Relationship Across Sectors: A Long- Versus Short-Run Perspective," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 265-288, July.
    12. Ertürk, Korkut Alp & Mendieta-Muñoz, Ivan, 2018. "The changing dynamics of short-run output adjustment," MPRA Paper 87409, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Koirala, Niraj Prasad & Ma, Xiaohan, 2020. "Oil price uncertainty and U.S. employment growth," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C).
    14. Jochen Hartwig, 2014. "Testing Okun’s law with Swiss industry data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(29), pages 3581-3590, October.
    15. Baki Guney Isikara, 2018. "The Weight of Essentials in Economic Activity," Working Papers 1814, New School for Social Research, Department of Economics.
    16. Valadkhani, Abbas & Smyth, Russell, 2015. "Switching and asymmetric behaviour of the Okun coefficient in the US: Evidence for the 1948–2015 period," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 281-290.
    17. Jacob Assa, 2015. "Financial Output as Economic Input: Resolving the Inconsistent Treatment of Financial Services in the National Accounts," Working Papers 1501, New School for Social Research, Department of Economics.
    18. Remzi Baris Tercioglu, 2019. "Rethinking growth and inequality in the US: What is the role of measurement of GDP?," Working Papers 1906, New School for Social Research, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2020.
    19. Robert A. Blecker, 2013. "Economic Stagnation in the United States: Underlying Causes and Global Consequences," Working Papers 2013-16, American University, Department of Economics.
    20. Dong–Min Rieu & Hyun Woong Park, 2018. "Unproductive Activities and the Rate of Surplus Value at the Industry Level in Korea, 1995–2015," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2018-07, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
    21. Grant, Angelia L., 2018. "The Great Recession and Okun's law," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 291-300.
    22. Martha L. Olney & Aaron Pacitti, 2017. "The Rise Of Services, Deindustrialization, And The Length Of Economic Recovery," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(4), pages 1625-1647, October.
    23. Basu, Deepankar & Das, Debarshi, 2015. "Employment Elasticity in India and the U.S., 1977-2011: A Sectoral Decomposition Analysis," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2015-07, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Okun's Law; Kaldor-Verdoorn E ect; Global restructuring; measurement of real output;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E12 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - Keynes; Keynesian; Post-Keynesian; Modern Monetary Theory
    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)

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