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Author:Smith, Christopher L. 

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
Understanding Declining Fluidity in the U.S. Labor Market

We document a clear downward trend in labor market fluidity that is common across a variety of measures of worker and job turnover. This trend dates to at least the early 1980s if not somewhat earlier. Next we pull together evidence on a variety of hypotheses that might explain this downward trend. It is only partly related to population demographics and is not due to the secular shift in industrial composition. Moreover, the decline in labor market fluidity seems unlikely to have been caused by an improvement in worker-firm matching, the formalization of hiring practices, or an increase in ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-15

Working Paper
Internal migration in the United States

We review patterns in migration within the U.S. over the past thirty years. Internal migration has fallen noticeably since the 1980s, reversing increases from earlier in the century. The decline in migration has been widespread across demographic and socioeconomic groups, as well as for moves of all distances. Although a convincing explanation for the secular decline in migration remains elusive and requires further research, we find only limited roles for the housing market contraction and the economic recession in reducing migration recently. Despite its downward trend, migration within the ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2011-30

Working Paper
Polarization, immigration, education: What's behind the dramatic decline in youth employment?

Since the beginning of the recent recession, the employment-population ratio for high-school age youth (16-17 years old) has fallen by nearly a third, to its lowest level ever. However, this recession has exacerbated a longer-run downward trend that actually began in the 1990s and accelerated in the early 2000s. There is little research regarding why teen employment has fallen. Some earlier work emphasized labor supply explanations related to schooling and education, such as an increased emphasis on college preparation (Aaronson, Park, and Sullivan 2006), while others have argued that adult ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2011-41

Working Paper
Changing Stability in U.S. Employment Relationships: A Tale of Two Tails

We confront two seemingly-contradictory observations about the US labor market: the rate at which workers change employers has declined since the 1980s, yet there is a commonly expressed view that long-term employment relationships are more difficult to attain. We reconcile these observations by examining how the distribution of employment tenure has changed in aggregate and for various demographic groups. We show that the fraction of workers with short tenure (less than a year) has been falling since the 1980s, consistent with the decline in job changing. Meanwhile, the fraction of workers ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-017

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
Using Cross-State Variation to Assess the Potential for Additional Improvement in Measures of Labor Market Conditions

While the national unemployment rate and the monthly change in payroll employment receive considerable attention among analysts seeking to assess the current state of the labor market, a broader range of labor market indicators are potentially also useful.
FEDS Notes , Paper 2014-06-02-1

Working Paper
The impact of low-skilled immigration on the youth labor market

The employment-to-population rate of high-school aged youth has fallen by about 20 percentage points since the late 1980s. The human capital implications of this decline depend on the reasons behind it. In this paper, I demonstrate that growth in the number of less-educated immigrants may have considerably reduced youth employment rates. This finding stands in contrast to previous research that generally identifies, at most, a modest negative relationship across states or cities between immigration levels and adult labor market outcomes. At least two factors are at work: there is greater ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2010-03

Working Paper
The dynamics of labor market polarization

It has been well documented that the share of the working-age population employed in "middle-skill" occupations has been falling for some time, while the share in lower- and higher-skill jobs has been rising--i.e. "polarization" of the labor market (e.g. Autor 2010). However, the dynamics and related mechanism behind these employment trends are not fully understood; nor is it well understood what happens to workers who are displaced from middle-skill jobs. In this paper, I use data from the matched monthly CPS, the March CPS supplement, and the Displaced Worker Survey to answer two ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2013-57

Discussion Paper
The Effect of Labor Slack on Wages : Evidence from State-Level Relationships

Over the past several years, increases in most broad measures of wages have been quite muted, which many would consider symptomatic of weak demand for labor.
FEDS Notes , Paper 2014-06-02-2

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