The Great Recession and a Missing Generation of Exporters
The collapse of international trade surrounding the Great Recession has garnered significant attention. This paper studies firm entry and exit in foreign markets and their role in the post-recession recovery of U.S. exports using confidential microdata from the U.S. Census Bureau. We find that incumbent exporters account for the vast majority of the decline in export volumes during the crisis. The recession also induced a missing generation of exporters, with large increases in exits and a substantial decline in entries into foreign markets. New exporters during these years tended to have ...
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 ...
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 ...
State Merit Aid Programs and Youth Labor Market Attachment
This paper examines the impact of state merit-aid programs on the labor market attachment of high school-aged youths. The labor force participation rate of teenagers has fallen substantially in recent decades, coinciding with the introduction of merit-aid programs. These programs reduce the price of attending an in-state public college or university for high-achieving students and have the potential to influence students' allocation of time and effort between labor market activities, human capital development, and other forms of leisure. We examine the influence of these programs based on ...
Organizations, Skills, and Wage Inequality
We extend an on-the-job search framework in order to allow firms to hire workers with different skills and skills to interact with firms? total factor productivity (TFP). Our model implies that more productive firms are larger, pay higher wages, and hire more workers at all skill levels and proportionately more at higher skill types, matching key stylized facts. We calibrate the model using five educational attainment levels as proxies for skills and estimate nonparametrically firm-skill output from the wage distributions for different educational levels. We consider two periods in time (1985 ...
Firms, Skills, and Wage Inequality
We present a model with search frictions and heterogeneous agents that allows us to decompose the overall increase in US wage inequality in the last 30 years into its within- and between-firm and skill components. We calibrate the model to evaluate how much of the overall rise in wage inequality and its components is explained by different channels. Output distribution per firm-skill pair more than accounts for the observed increase over this period. Parametric identification implies that the worker-specific component is responsible for 85 percent of this, compared to 15 percent that is ...
Recent Employment Growth in Cities, Suburbs, and Rural Communities
This paper uses a comprehensive source of yearly data to study private-sector labor demand across US counties during the past five decades. Our focus is on how employment levels and earnings relate to population density—that is, how labor markets in rural areas, suburbs, and cities have fared relative to one another. Three broad lessons emerge. First, the longstanding suburbanization of employment and population in cities with very dense urban cores essentially stopped in the first decade of the 21st century. For cities with less dense cores, however, the decentralization of employment ...
Wages and human capital in finance: international evidence, 1970-2005
We study the allocation and compensation of human capital in the finance industry in a set of developed economies in 1970-2005. Finance relative skill intensity and skilled wages generally increase but not in all countries, and to varying degrees. Skilled wages in finance account for 36% of increases in overall skill premia, although finance only accounts for 5.4% of skilled private sector employment, on average. Financial deregulation, financial globalization and bank concentration are the most important factors driving wages in finance. Differential investment in information and ...
Whither Labor Force Participation?
Halting a nearly decade-long downward trend, the U.S. labor force participation rate (LFPR) has flattened since 2016, fluctuating within a narrow range a little below 63 percent. What role has the economy played in this change and what can we expect for the future? In this post, we investigate the extent to which the recent flattening of participation can be attributed to the simultaneous robust improvement in the labor market. We also assess the future path of participation in the medium run should labor market conditions improve further.
The (Modest) Rebound in Manufacturing Jobs
The United States lost 5.7 million manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2010, reducing the nation?s manufacturing employment base by nearly a third. These job losses and their causes have been well documented in the popular press and in academic circles. Less well recognized is the modest yet significant rebound in manufacturing jobs that has been underway for several years. Indeed, employment in the manufacturing industry began to stabilize in 2010, and the nation has added nearly 1 million jobs since then. Although modest in magnitude, this uptick in manufacturing jobs represents the longest ...