Journal Article

Where Are the Workers? From Great Resignation to Quiet Quitting

Abstract: To better understand the tight post-pandemic labor market in the US, we decompose the decline in aggregate hours worked into extensive margin changes (fewer people working) and intensive margin changes (workers working fewer hours). Although the preexisting trend of lower labor force participation, especially by young men without a bachelor's degree, accounts for some of the decline in aggregate hours, the intensive margin accounts for more than half of the decline between 2019 and 2022. The decline in hours among workers was larger for men than women. Among men, the decline was larger for those with a bachelor's degree than those with less education, for prime-age workers than older workers, and also for those who already worked long hours and had high earnings. The reduction in workers' hours can explain why the labor market is even tighter than what is expected at the current levels of unemployment and labor force participation.

Keywords: labor markets; aggregate hours worked; labor force participation;

JEL Classification: J21; J22;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

Part of Series: Review

Publication Date: 2023

Pages: 13 pages

Note: Forthcoming 2023