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The Effects of Unemployment Benefits on Unemployment and Labor Force Participation: Evidence from 35 Years of Benefits Extensions
This paper presents estimates of the effect of emergency and extended unemployment benefits (EEB) on the unemployment rate and the labor force participation rate using a data set containing information on individuals likely eligible and ineligible for EEB back to the late 1970s. To identify these estimates, we examine how exit rates from unemployment change across different points of the distribution of unemployment duration when EEB is and is not available, controlling for changes in labor demand and demographic characteristics. We find that EEB increased the unemployment rate by about ...
Declining Labor Force Attachment and Downward Trends in Unemployment and Participation
The U.S. labor market witnessed two apparently unrelated secular movements in the last 30 years: a decline in unemployment between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, and a decline in participation since the early 2000s. Using CPS micro data and a stock-flow accounting framework, we show that a substantial, and hitherto unnoticed, factor behind both trends is a decline in the share of nonparticipants who are at the margin of participation. A lower share of marginal nonparticipants implies a lower unemployment rate, because marginal nonparticipants enter the labor force mostly through ...
On the causes of declines in the labor force participation rate
The unemployment rate stood at 5.0 percent when the Great Recession started in December 2007 but had more than doubled toward the end of 2009, peaking at 10 percent. Since then, however, it has steadily declined. As of the end of 2013, the jobless rate stood at 6.7 percent. While it is still high by historical standards, significant progress has been made. Moreover, the declines were often faster than many had predicted.
The Changing Cyclicality of Labor Force Participation
The labor force participation rate has become more sensitive to the business cycle.
Aggregate Labor Force Participation and Unemployment and Demographic Trends
We estimate trends in the labor force participation (LFP) and unemployment rates for demographic groups differentiated by age, gender, and education, using a parsimonious statistical model of age, cohort, and cycle effects. Based on the group trends, we construct trends for the aggregate LFP and unemployment rate. Important drivers of the aggregate LFP rate trend are demographic factors, with increasing educational attainment being important throughout the sample, ageing of the population becoming more important since 2000, and changes of groups' trend LFP rates, e.g., for women prior to ...
Labor Force Exits Are Complicating Unemployment Rate Forecasts
What will the unemployment rate be in 2013? Even if you were certain how much the U.S. economy (gross domestic product, or GDP) would grow over the next year or two, it would still be difficult to forecast the unemployment rate over that period. The link between GDP growth and unemployment is complex in part because it depends on how many people decide to work or look for work?that is, the labor force participation rate. In this post, we discuss the recent steep decline in the labor force participation rate and explain how uncertainty regarding the future path of that variable contributes to ...