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Cyclical unemployment, structural unemployment
Whenever unemployment stays high for an extended period, it is common to see analyses, statements, and rebuttals about the extent to which the high unemployment is structural, not cyclical. This essay views the Beveridge curve pattern of unemployment and vacancy rates and the related matching function as proxies for the functioning of the labor market and explores issues in that proxy relationship that complicate such analyses. Also discussed is the concept of mismatch.
AUTHORS: Diamond, Peter A.
The causes and consequences of economic restructuring: evidence from the early 21st century
A number of industries underwent large and permanent reductions in employment growth at the beginning of this decade, a process we label as restructuring. We describe how restructuring occurred and what its consequences were for the economy. In particular, we find that restructuring stemmed largely from relative demand shocks (though technology shocks were important in some industries) and that elevated levels of permanent job destruction and permanent layoffs were distinguishing features of industries subject to restructuring. In addition, most workers displaced in restructuring industries relocated to other sectors. While this process of reallocation led to large increases in productivity (and a reduction in labor?s share) in industries shedding workers, it also resulted in prolonged periods of unemployment for displaced workers. Moreover, relocating workers suffered sizable reductions in earnings, consistent with substantial losses in their specific human capital. Putting these pieces together, we estimate the cost of restructuring to have been between and 1 percent of aggregate income per year.
AUTHORS: Wascher, William L.; Figura, Andrew
Higher education and the economy
Remarks by Eric S. Rosengren, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, at the New England Board of Higher Education's "New England Works" summit on bridging higher education and the workforce, Boston, Massachusetts, November 7, 2011
AUTHORS: Rosengren, Eric S.
Uniform working hours and structural unemployment
In this paper, we construct a simple model based on heterogeneity in workers' productivity and homogeneity in their working schedules. This simple model can generate unemployment, even if wages adjust instantaneously, firms are perfectly competitive, and firms can perfectly observe workers' productivity and effort. In our model, it is optimal for low-skilled workers to be unemployed because, on the one hand, firms do not find it optimal to hire low-skilled workers when labor hours must be synchronized across heterogeneous workers, and on the other hand, low-skilled workers do not find it attractive working for the same hours as high-skilled workers at competitive wages based on productivity. Thus our model offers an alternative explanation for why unskilled workers are a primary source of structural unemployment.
AUTHORS: Liu, Haoming; Wen, Yi; Zhu, Lijing