Who Killed the Phillips Curve? A Murder Mystery
Is the Phillips curve dead? If so, who killed it? Conventional wisdom has it that the sound monetary policy since the 1980s not only conquered the Great Inflation, but also buried the Phillips curve itself. This paper provides an alternative explanation: labor market policies that have eroded worker bargaining power might have been the source of the demise of the Phillips curve. We develop what we call the "Kaleckian Phillips curve", the slope of which is determined by the bargaining power of trade unions. We show that a nearly 90 percent reduction in inflation volatility is possible even ...
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?
Assessing the Change in Labor Market Conditions
This paper describes a dynamic factor model of 19 U.S. labor market indicators, covering the broad categories of unemployment and underemployment, employment, workweeks, wages, vacancies, hiring, layoffs, quits, and surveys of consumers? and businesses? perceptions. The resulting labor market conditions index (LMCI) is a useful tool for gauging the change in labor market conditions. In addition, the model provides a way to organize discussions of the signal value of different labor market indicators in situations when they might be sending diverse signals. The model takes the greatest signal ...
How Large were the Effects of Emergency and Extended Benefits on Unemployment during the Great Recession and its Aftermath?
This paper presents estimates of the effect of unemployment benefit extensions during the Great Recession on unemployment and labor force participation. Unlike many recent studies of this subject, our estimates, following the work of Hagedorn, Karahan, Manovskii, and Mitman (2016), are inclusive of the effects of benefit extensions on employer, as well as, worker behavior. To identify the effect of benefit extensions, we use plausibly exogenous changes in the rules governing benefit extensions and their differential effects on the maximum duration of benefits across states. We find that the ...
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.
Unemployment Insurance Experience Rating and Labor Market Dynamics
Unemployment insurance experience rating imposes higher payroll tax rates on firms that have laid off more workers in the past. To analyze the effects of UI tax policy on labor market dynamics, this paper develops a search model of unemployment with heterogeneous firms and realistic UI financing. The model predicts that higher experience rating reduces both job creation and job destruction. Using firm-level data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, the model is tested by comparing job creation and job destruction across states and industries with different UI tax schedules. The ...
Assessing the Change in Labor Market Conditions
This paper describes a dynamic factor model of 19 U.S. labor market indicators, covering the broad categories of unemployment and underemployment, employment, workweeks, wages, vacancies, hiring, layoffs, quits, and surveys of consumers' and businesses' perceptions. The resulting labor market conditions index (LMCI) is a useful tool for gauging the change in labor market conditions. In addition, the model provides a way to organize discussions of the signal value of different labor market indicators in situations when they might be sending diverse signals. The model takes the greatest signal ...
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 ...
Updating the Labor Market Conditions Index
Starting Monday, October 6th, we will provide updated estimates of the labor market conditions index (LMCI) every month.
Replacement hiring—recruitment that seeks to replace positions vacated by workers who quit—plays a central role in establishment dynamics. We document this phenomenon using rich microdata on U.S. establishments, which frequently report no net change in their employment, often for years at a time, despite facing substantial gross turnover in the form of quits. We propose a model in which replacement hiring is driven by the presence of a putty-clay friction in the production structure of establishments. Replacement hiring induces a novel positive feedback channel through which an initial ...