Hiring, job loss, and the severity of recessions
The hiring and firing decisions of individual businesses are one of the drivers behind movements in the unemployment rate during expansions and recessions. Whether a recession is driven by large job losses or weak hiring will greatly affect the composition and consequences of the unemployed and can have important policy implications. The extent to which recessions are times of weak hiring or high job loss depends in large part on the severity of the downturn. A recession is a time when the fraction of businesses that are expanding goes down and the fraction of businesses that are contracting ...
Is the Unemployment Rate a Good Measure of People Currently Out of Work?
Update, May 15, 2020: Following the release of the latest Current Population Survey estimates and related micro data, we are able to calculate the actual value of our U-Cov rate for April, which was 30.7% (not seasonally adjusted). This was over a 17 percentage point increase from March, significantly higher than the 10 percentage point increase in the official “U3” unemployment rate (to 14.4% in April). A 4.8 million increase in the number of people working part-time for economic reasons, a 4.3 million increase in those on unpaid leave, and a 4.5 million increase in those out of the ...
The Relationship Between Race, Type of Work, and Covid-19 Infection Rates
This paper explores the relationship between Covid-19 infection rates, race, and type of work. We focus on three U.S. cities—Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia—allowing us to exploit zip code-level variation in infection rates and testing rates over time, while controlling for a variety of neighborhood demographic characteristics. We find that neighborhoods with higher Black and Hispanic population shares, and neighborhoods with higher shares of workers in high-social contact jobs within essential businesses, had disproportionately higher Covid-19 infection rates, even after applying our ...
Business volatility, job destruction and unemployment
Unemployment inflows fell from 4 percent of employment per month in the early 1980s to 2 percent or less by the mid 1990s and thereafter. U.S. data also show a secular decline in firm-level employment volatility and the job destruction rate. We interpret this decline as a decrease in the intensity of idiosyncratic labor demand shocks, a key parameter in search and matching models of frictional unemployment. According to these models, a lower intensity of idiosyncratic demand shocks produces less job destruction, fewer workers flowing through the unemployment pool and less frictional ...
Potential Jobs Impacted by Covid-19: An Update
This blog post updates our earlier analysis of the potential jobs impacted by Covid-19. The update reflects three adjustments to the original analysis. First, we updated our guesses on the shares of each industry employed and working at still-operating businesses based on the Labor Department’s March Employment Situation report. Second, we use an updated model to estimate the possible June unemployment rates from initial unemployment insurance claims data (the model details are found here. Finally, we use unemployment rate predictions that incorporate the data from the April 2 report on ...
The relationship between the establishment age distribution and urban growth
This paper presents new evidence on the relationship between a metropolitan area?s employment growth and its establishment age distribution. The author finds that cities with a relatively younger distribution of establishments tend to have higher growth, as well as higher job and establishment turnover. Geographic variations in the age distribution account for 38 percent of the geographic differences in growth, compared to the 32 percent accounted for by variations in industry composition. Differences are disproportionately accounted for by entrants and young (5 years or younger) ...
Job flows, jobless recoveries, and the Great Moderation
This paper uses new data on job creation and job destruction to find evidence of a link between the jobless recoveries of the last two recessions and the recent decline in aggregate volatility known as the Great Moderation. The author finds that the last two recessions are characterized by jobless recoveries that came about through contrasting margins of employment adjustment?a relatively slow decline in job destruction in 1991-92 and persistently low job creation in 2002-03. In manufacturing, he finds that these patterns followed a secular decline in the magnitude of job flows and an abrupt ...
The establishment-level behavior of vacancies and hiring
The authors study vacancies, hires, and vacancy yields (success rate in generating hires) in the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, a large representative sample of U.S. employers. The authors also develop a simple framework that identifies the monthly flow of new vacancies and the job-filling rate for vacant positions, the employer counterpart to the job-finding rate for unemployed workers. The job-filling rate moves counter to employment at the aggregate level but rises steeply with employer growth rates in the cross section. It falls with employer size, rises with the worker turnover ...
What Does Online Job Search Tell Us about the Labor Market?
This article finds that in 2011, online job search was much more prevalent and significantly more effective in helping job seekers gain employment than about a decade earlier. Moreover, it shows that online job search data generally capture the aggregate patterns of the U.S. labor market. The authors discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using these data for research, and summarize related studies.
Unemployment among recent veterans during the Great Recession
The authors find that prolonged deployments overseas account for much of the difference in unemployment rates between recent veterans and nonveterans during the Great Recession.