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Author:Decker, Ryan 

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
Changing Business Dynamism and Productivity : Shocks vs. Responsiveness

The pace of job reallocation has declined in all U.S. sectors since 2000. In standard models, aggregate job reallocation depends on (a) the dispersion of idiosyncratic productivity shocks faced by businesses and (b) the marginal responsiveness of businesses to those shocks. Using several novel empirical facts from business microdata, we infer that the pervasive post-2000 decline in reallocation reflects weaker responsiveness in a manner consistent with rising adjustment frictions and not lower dispersion of shocks. The within-industry dispersion of TFP and output per worker has risen, while ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-007

Working Paper
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 ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-003

Working Paper
An Assessment of the National Establishment Time Series (NETS) Database

The National Establishment Time Series (NETS) is a private sector source of U.S. business microdata. Researchers have used state-specific NETS extracts for many years, but relatively little is known about the accuracy and representativeness of the nationwide NETS sample. We explore the properties of NETS as compared to official U.S. data on business activity: The Census Bureau's County Business Patterns (CBP) and Nonemployer Statistics (NES) and the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). We find that the NETS universe does not cover the entirety of the ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-110

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
Business Dynamics in the National Establishment Time Series (NETS)/Leland Crane, Ryan Decker

Business microdata have proven useful in a number of fields, but the main sources of comprehensive microdata are subject to significant confidentiality restrictions. A growing number of papers instead use a private data source seeking to cover the universe of U.S. business establishments, the National Establishment Time Series (NETS). Previous research documents the representativeness of NETS in terms of the distribution of employment and establishment counts across industry, geography, and establishment size. But there exists considerable need among researchers for microdata suitable for ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2019-034

Working Paper
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 ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-019

Working Paper
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) ...
Working Papers , Paper 14-12

Working Paper
Boom Town Business Dynamics

The shale oil and gas boom in the U.S. provides a unique opportunity to study economic growth in a "boom town" environment, to derive insights about economic expansions more generally, and to obtain clean identification of the causal effects of economic growth on specific margins of business adjustment. The creation of new business establishments--separate from the expansion of existing establishments--accounts for a disproportionate share of the multi-industry employment growth sparked by the shale boom, an intuitive but not inevitable empirical result that is broadly consistent with ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-081

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