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Author:Cajner, Tomaz 

Working Paper
Tracking Labor Market Developments during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Preliminary Assessment

Many traditional official statistics are not suitable for measuring high-frequency developments that evolve over the course of weeks, not months. In this paper, we track the labor market effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with weekly payroll employment series based on microdata from ADP. These data are available essentially in real-time, and allow us to track both aggregate and industry effects. Cumulative losses in paid employment through April 4 are currently estimated at 18 million; just during the two weeks between March 14 and March 28 the U.S. economy lost about 13 million paid jobs. ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-030

Working Paper
Using Payroll Processor Microdata to Measure Aggregate Labor Market Activity

We show that high-frequency private payroll microdata can help forecast labor market conditions. Payroll employment is perhaps the most reliable real-time indicator of the business cycle and is therefore closely followed by policymakers, academia, and financial markets. Government statistical agencies have long served as the primary suppliers of information on the labor market and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. That said, sources of ?big data? are becoming increasingly available through collaborations with private businesses engaged in commercial activities that record ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-005

Working Paper
Human Capital and Unemployment Dynamics: Why More Educated Workers Enjoy Greater Employment Stability

Why do more educated workers experience lower unemployment rates and lower employment volatility? A closer look at the data reveals that these workers have similar job finding rates, but much lower and less volatile separation rates than their less educated peers. We argue that on-the-job training, being complementary to formal education, is the reason for this pattern. Using a search and matching model with endogenous separations, we show that investments in match-specific human capital reduce the outside option of workers, implying less incentives to separate. The model generates ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-09

Working Paper
Racial Gaps in Labor Market Outcomes in the Last Four Decades and over the Business Cycle

We examine racial disparities in key labor market outcomes for men and women over the past four decades, with a special emphasis on their evolution over the business cycle. Blacks have substantially higher and more cyclical unemployment rates than whites, and observable characteristics can explain very little of this differential, which is importantly driven by a comparatively higher risk of job loss. In contrast, the Hispanic-white unemployment rate gap is comparatively small and is largely explained by lower educational attainment of (mostly foreign-born) Hispanics. Regarding labor force ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-071

Working Paper
Improving the Accuracy of Economic Measurement with Multiple Data Sources: The Case of Payroll Employment Data

This paper combines information from two sources of U.S. private payroll employment to increase the accuracy of real-time measurement of the labor market. The sources are the Current Employment Statistics (CES) from BLS and microdata from the payroll processing firm ADP. We briefly describe the ADP-derived data series, compare it to the BLS data, and describe an exercise that benchmarks the data series to an employment census. The CES and the ADP employment data are each derived from roughly equal-sized samples. We argue that combining CES and ADP data series reduces the measurement error ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2019-065

Working Paper
Labor Force Participation: Recent Developments and Future Prospects

Since 2007, the labor force participation rate has fallen from about 66 percent to about 63 percent. The sources of this decline have been widely debated among academics and policymakers, with some arguing that the participation rate is depressed due to weak labor demand while others argue that the decline was inevitable due to structural forces such as the aging of the population. In this paper, we use a variety of approaches to assess reasons for the decline in participation. Although these approaches yield somewhat different estimates of the extent to which the recent decline in ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1410

Working Paper
Reconciling Unemployment Claims with Job Losses in the First Months of the COVID-19 Crisis

In the spring of 2020, many observers relied heavily on weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits (UI) to estimate contemporaneous reductions in US employment induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Though UI claims provided a timely, high-frequency window into mounting layoffs, the cumulative volume of initial claims filed through the May reference week substantially exceeded realized reductions in payroll employment and likely contributed to the historically large discrepancy between consensus expectations of further April-to-May job losses and the strong job gains reflected in ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-055

Working Paper
Labor Force Participation: Recent Developments and Future Prospects

Since 2007, the labor force participation rate has fallen from about 66 percent to about 63 percent. The sources of this decline have been widely debated among academics and policymakers, with some arguing that the participation rate is depressed due to weak labor demand while others argue that the decline was inevitable due to structural forces such as the aging of the population. In this paper, we use a variety of approaches to assess reasons for the decline in participation. Although these approaches yield somewhat different estimates of the extent to which the recent decline in ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2014-64

Discussion Paper
The Recent Decline in Long-Term Unemployment

In this FEDS Note we take a deeper look at the sizeable decline in long-term unemployment seen over the first half of 2014.
FEDS Notes , Paper 2014-07-21

Discussion Paper
Why is Involuntary Part-Time Work Elevated?

Despite substantial improvement in the unemployment rate and several other labor market indicators, the number of Americans involuntarily working part time (also called "part-time for economic reasons") remains unusually high nearly five years into the recovery. In this note, we focus on two questions: 1. What can Current Population Survey (CPS) data on the stocks and flows of involuntary part-time employment say about the underlying reasons for its persistently high rate? And 2. Based on this analysis, what can we expect for the evolution of involuntary part-time work going forward?
FEDS Notes , Paper 2014-04-14

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