Did abnormal weather affect U.S. employment growth in early 2015?
A current policy concern centers on how the severe winter weather experienced in some parts of the country may have affected the economy earlier this year. As of 2015:Q1, monthly payroll growth has slowed by more than 100,000 jobs compared to 2014:Q4, while GDP declined at an annual rate of 0.7 percent. To measure the potential effect of weather on recent employment growth, the author estimates a regression model using state-level employment and weather data from 1981 onward. The coefficients from this model are combined with data on recent weather to generate an estimate of how weather is ...
Underemployment in the early careers of college graduates following the Great Recession
Though labor market conditions steadily improved following the Great Recession, underemployment among recent college graduates continued to climb, reaching highs not seen since the early 1990s. In this paper, we take a closer look at the jobs held by underemployed college graduates in the early stages of their careers during the first few years after the Great Recession. Contrary to popular perception, we show that relatively few recent graduates were working in low-skilled service jobs, and that many of the underemployed worked in fairly well paid non-college jobs requiring some degree of ...
Slow recoveries and unemployment traps: monetary policy in a time of hysteresis
We analyze monetary policy in a model where temporary shocks can permanently scar the economy's productive capacity. Unemployed workers? skill losses generate multiple steady-state unemployment rates. When monetary policy is constrained by the zero bound, large shocks reduce hiring to a point where the economy recovers slowly at best?at worst, it falls into a permanent unemployment trap. Since monetary policy is powerless to escape such traps ex post, it must avoid them ex ante. The model quantitatively accounts for the slow U.S. recovery following the Great Recession, and suggests that lack ...
The role of start-ups in structural transformation
The U.S. economy has been going through a striking structural transformation?the secular reallocation of employment across sectors?over the past several decades. We propose a decomposition framework to assess the contributions of various margins of firm dynamics to this shift. Using firm-level data, we find that at least 50 percent of the adjustment has been taking place along the entry margin, owing to sectors receiving shares of start-up employment that differ from their overall employment shares. The rest is mostly the result of life cycle differences across sectors. Declining overall ...
Occupation Mobility, Human Capital and the Aggregate Consequences of Task-Biased Innovations
We construct a dynamic general equilibrium model with occupation mobility, human capital accumulation and endogenous assignment of workers to tasks to quantitatively assess the aggregate impact of automation and other task-biased technological innovations. We extend recent quantitative general equilibrium Roy models to a setting with dynamic occupational choices and human capital accumulation. We provide a set of conditions for the problem of workers to be written in recursive form and provide a sharp characterization for the optimal mobility of individual workers and for the aggregate supply ...
Persistence of Shocks and the Reallocation of Labor
This paper proposes a theoretical and quantitative analysis of the reallocation of labor across firms in response to idiosyncratic shocks of different persistence. Creating and destroying jobs is costly and workers are paid a share of the value of the marginal worker. The model predicts that employment and labor costs react differently to transitory shocks and permanent shocks. Quantitative evaluation of the model on a panel of French firms shows the model?s performance. Modest adjustment costs are needed to reproduce observed job reallocation and inaction rates. Removing adjustment costs ...
Firm Dynamics and the Minimum Wage: A Putty-Clay Approach
We document two new facts about the market-level response to minimum wage hikes: firm exit and entry both rise. These results pose a puzzle: canonical models of firm dynamics predict that exit rises but that entry falls. We develop a model of firm dynamics based on putty-clay technology and show that it is consistent with the increase in both exit and entry. The putty-clay model is also consistent with the small short-run employment effects of minimum wage hikes commonly found in empirical work. However, unlike monopsony-based explanations for small short-run employment effects, the model ...
Job Polarization and the Natural Rate of Unemployment in the United States
I present a new estimate of the natural rate of unemployment in the United States that accounts for changes in the age, sex, and skill composition of the labor force. Using micro-level data from the Current Population Survey for the period 1994-2017, I find that the natural rate of unemployment declined by 0.5 percentage point since 1994 and currently stands at 4.5 percent. My projections show that ongoing demographic and technological changes could lower the trend rate further to 4.4 percent by the end of 2022.
Health versus Wealth: On the Distributional Effects of Controlling a Pandemic
To slow the spread of COVID-19, many countries are shutting down nonessential sectors of the economy. Older individuals have the most to gain from slowing virus diffusion. Younger workers in sectors that are shuttered have the most to lose. In this paper, we build a model in which economic activity and disease progression are jointly determined. Individuals differ by age (young and retired), by sector (basic and luxury), and by health status. Disease transmission occurs in the workplace, in consumption activities, at home, and in hospitals. We study the optimal economic mitigation policy of a ...
Cyclical and market determinants of involuntary part-time employment
We examine the determinants of involuntary part-time employment, focusing on variation associated with the business cycle and variation attributable to more persistent structural features of the labor market. Our theoretical framework distinguishes between workers? decision to seek part-time work and employer demand for part-time work hours, emphasizing demand and supply determinants of involuntary part-time work such as workplace technology, labor costs, and workforce demographics. We conduct regression analyses using state-level panel and individual data for the years 2003-2014. The results ...