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Author:Abel, Jaison R. 

Report
Underemployment in the early careers of college graduates following the Great Recession

Though labor market conditions steadily improved following the Great Recession, underemployment among recent college graduates continued to climb, reaching highs not seen since the early 1990s. In this paper, we take a closer look at the jobs held by underemployed college graduates in the early stages of their careers during the first few years after the Great Recession. Contrary to popular perception, we show that relatively few recent graduates were working in low-skilled service jobs, and that many of the underemployed worked in fairly well paid non-college jobs requiring some degree of ...
Staff Reports , Paper 749

Report
Do colleges and universities increase their region's human capital?

We investigate whether the degree production and research and development (R&D) activities of colleges and universities are related to the amount and types of human capital present in the metropolitan areas where the institutions are located. We find that degree production has only a small positive relationship with local stocks of human capital, suggesting that migration plays an important role in the geographic distribution of human capital. Moreover, we show that spillovers from academic R&D activities tilt the structure of local labor markets toward occupations requiring innovation and ...
Staff Reports , Paper 401

Discussion Paper
Some Workers Have Been Hit Much Harder than Others by the Pandemic

As the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States, in just two months—between February and April 2020—the nation saw well over 20 million workers lose their jobs, an unprecedented 15 percent decline. Since then, substantial progress has been made, but employment still remains 5 percent below its pre-pandemic level. However, not all workers have been affected equally. This post is the first in a three-part series exploring disparities in labor market outcomes during the pandemic—and represents an extension of ongoing research into heterogeneities and inequalities in people’s ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20210209a

Journal Article
Do the benefits of college still outweigh the costs?

In recent years, students have been paying more to attend college and earning less upon graduation?trends that have led many observers to question whether a college education remains a good investment. However, an analysis of the economic returns to college since the 1970s demonstrates that the benefits of both a bachelor?s degree and an associate?s degree still tend to outweigh the costs, with both degrees earning a return of about 15 percent over the past decade. The return has remained high in spite of rising tuition and falling earnings because the wages of those without a college degree ...
Current Issues in Economics and Finance , Volume 20

Discussion Paper
Population Lost: Puerto Rico's Troubling Out-Migration

For the first time in modern history, Puerto Rico is seeing its population decline. This troubling loss can be traced to an exodus of Puerto Rican citizens to the U.S. mainland, a current that has picked up considerably in recent years as Puerto Rico's economy has deteriorated. Today, fully a third of those born in Puerto Rico now reside on the U.S. mainland. In this post, we examine the recent surge in out-migration that is driving Puerto Rico's population decline (which we delve into in more detail in a recent article in the New York Fed's Current Issues in Economics and Finance series), ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20150413

Report
Can low-wage workers find better jobs?

There is growing concern over rising economic inequality, the decline of the middle class, and a polarization of the U.S. workforce. This study examines the extent to which low-wage workers in the United States transition to better jobs, and explores the factors associated with such a move up the job ladder. Using data covering the expansion following the Great Recession (2011-17) and focusing on short-term labor market transitions, we find that around 70 percent of low-wage workers stayed in the same job, 11 percent exited the labor force, 7 percent became unemployed, and 6 percent switched ...
Staff Reports , Paper 846

Report
Workforce skills across the urban-rural hierarchy

This paper examines differences in the skill content of work throughout the United States, ranging from densely populated city centers to isolated and sparsely populated rural areas. To do so, we classify detailed geographic areas into categories along the entire urban-rural hierarchy. An occupation-based cluster analysis is then used to measure the types of skills available in the regional workforce, which allows for a broader measure of human capital than is captured by conventional measures. We find that the occupation clusters most prevalent in urban areas?scientists, engineers, and ...
Staff Reports , Paper 552

Discussion Paper
Local Hangovers: How the Housing Boom and Bust Affected Jobs in Metro Areas

What explains why some places suffered particularly severe job losses during the Great Recession? In this post, we extend our recent Current Issues article analyzing regional dimensions of the latest housing cycle and show that metropolitan areas that experienced the biggest housing booms and busts from 2000 to 2008 lost the most jobs during the recession. Not surprisingly, construction activity helps explain the tight link between housing and local job market performance. Given this pattern, we believe that each metro area’s boom-bust experience is likely to continue to influence its ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20110829

Discussion Paper
The Value of a College Degree

Not so long ago, people rarely questioned the value of a college degree. A bachelor's degree was seen as a surefire ticket to a career-oriented, good-paying job. Today, however, many people are uncertain whether going to college is such a wise decision. It's easy to see why. Tuition costs have been rising considerably faster than inflation, student debt is mounting, wages for college graduates have been falling, and recent college graduates have been struggling to find good jobs. These trends might lead one to believe that college is no longer a good investment. But when you dig into the ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20140902

Discussion Paper
Upstate New York Job Growth: The Bad News Is that the Good News Was Wrong

In 2015, upstate New York looked to be having its strongest job growth in years. Employment was estimated to be growing at around one percent—below the national pace, but twice the region's trend growth rate since the end of the Great Recession. Buffalo, in particular, looked to be gaining significant numbers of construction and manufacturing jobs for the first time in decades, pushing it to its highest job growth since the late 1990s. Unfortunately, the good news was wrong. Annual benchmark revisions to New York State's employment data released in early March cut upstate's growth rate in ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20160325

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