Tracking the Labor Market with "Big Data"
In our research, we explore the information content of the ADP microdata alone by producing an estimate of employment changes independent from the BLS payroll series as well as from other data sources.
Entrepreneurship and State Taxation
Entrepreneurship plays a vital role in the economy, yet there exists little well-identified research into the effects of taxes on startup activity. Using recently developed county-level data on startups, we examine the effect of states' corporate, personal and sales tax rates on new firm activity and test for cross-border spillovers in response to these policies. We find that new firm employment is negatively?and disproportionately?affected by corporate tax rates. We find little evidence of an effect of personal and sales taxes on entrepreneurial outcomes. Our results are robust to changes in ...
Declining Dynamism, Allocative Efficiency, and the Productivity Slowdown
A large literature documents declining measures of business dynamism including high-growth young firm activity and job reallocation. A distinct literature describes a slowdown in the pace of aggregate labor productivity growth. We relate these patterns by studying changes in productivity growth from the late 1990s to the mid 2000s using firm-level data. We find that diminished allocative efficiency gains can account for the productivity slowdown in a manner that interacts with the within-firm productivity growth distribution. The evidence suggests that the decline in dynamism is reason for ...
Across the Universe: Policy Support for Employment and Revenue in the Pandemic Recession
Using data from 14 government sources, we develop comprehensive estimates of U.S. economic activity by sector, legal form of organization, and firm size to characterize how four government direct lending programs—the Paycheck Protection Program, the Main Street Lending Program, the Corporate Credit Facilities, and the Municipal Lending Facilities—relate to these classes of economic activity in the United States. The classes targeted by these programs are vast—accounting for 97 percent of total U.S. employment—though entityspecific financial criteria limit coverage within specific ...
Business Exit During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Non-Traditional Measures in Historical Context
Given lags in official data releases, economists have studied "alternative data" measures of business exit resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Such measures are difficult to understand without historical context, so we review official data on business exit in recent decades. Business exit is common in the U.S., with about 7.5 percent of firms exiting annually in recent years, and is countercyclical (particularly recently). Both the high level and the cyclicality of exit are driven by very small firms. We explore a range of alternative measures and indicators of business exit, including ...
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 ...
Unraveling the Oil Conundrum : Productivity Improvements and Cost Declines in the U.S. Shale Oil Industry
Why have large declines in oil prices and in the rig count not triggered a more dramatic decline in production? At what price level would a large share of U.S. shale oil production lose economic viability? In this note, we explore these questions with a focus on the U.S. shale oil industry in the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and Permian Basin regions.
Market exposure and endogenous firm volatility over the business cycle
First Draft: November 1, 2011 We propose a theory of endogenous firm-level volatility over the business cycle based on endogenous market exposure. Firms that reach a larger number of markets diversify market-specific demand risk at a cost. The model is driven only by total factor productivity shocks and captures the business cycle properties of firm-level volatility. Using a panel of U.S. firms (Compustat), we empirically document the countercyclical nature of firm-level volatility. We then match this panel to Compustat?s Segment data and the U.S. Census?s Longitudinal Business Database (LBD) ...
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 ...
Natural Disasters and the Measurement of Industrial Production: Hurricane Harvey, A Case Study
The Federal Reserve's G.17 release on industrial production (IP) and capacity utilization published on September 15, 2017, included one of the first estimates of the impact on a specific measure of economic activity by Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Texas on August 25. As reported in the release, total industrial production fell 0.9 percent in August, most of which (about 3/4 percentage point) could be accounted for by storm-related outages.