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Keywords:labor market slack OR Labor Market Slack 

Working Paper
Who counts as employed?: informal work, employment status, and labor market slack

Several recent studies find that as of 2015, a significant share of working-age adults in the United States participates in nonstandard work arrangements. Such arrangements tend to lack long-term employment contracts and are often referred to as ?gig economy? jobs. This paper investigates the implications of nonstandard or ?informal? work for the measurement of employment status and labor market slack. Using original survey data, we find that as of 2015 roughly 37 percent of nonretired U.S. adults participated in some type of informal work, and roughly 20 percent participated in informal ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-29

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

Discussion Paper
Measuring Labor Market Slack: Are the Long-Term Unemployed Different?

There has been some debate in the Liberty Street Economics blog and in other outlets, such as Krueger, Cramer, and Cho (2014) and Gordon(2013), about whether the short-term unemployment rate is a better measure of slack than the overall unemployment rate. As the chart below shows, the two measures are sending different signals, with the short-term unemployment rate back to its pre-recession level while the overall rate is still elevated because of a high long-term unemployment rate. One can argue that the unemployment rate is exaggerating the extent of underutilization in the labor market, ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20141117

Working Paper
Two Measures of Core Inflation: A Comparison

Trimmed-mean Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) inflation does not clearly dominate ex-food-and-energy PCE inflation in real-time forecasting of headline PCE inflation. However, trimmed-mean inflation is the superior communications and policy tool because it is a less-biased real-time estimator of headline inflation and because it more successfully filters out headline inflation?s transitory variation, leaving only cyclical and trend components.
Working Papers , Paper 1903

Report
Wage inflation and informal work

Despite very low unemployment in the United States in recent months, wage inflation has remained modest. This paper investigates the possibility that there is hidden labor market slack in the form of informal or gig economy work, which may help explain this wage growth puzzle. Using unique data from 2015 and 2016 that we collected through the Survey of Informal Work Participation ? part of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York?s Survey of Consumer Expectations ? we find indirect and direct evidence for this hypothesis. First, we find that a measure of informal labor is negatively associated ...
Current Policy Perspectives , Paper 18-2

Journal Article
The State of States’ Unemployment in the Fourth District

Unemployment rates vary across individual US states at any point in time and respond to business-cycle fluctuations differently. Evaluating what constitutes a ?normal? level for the unemployment rate at the state level is not easy, but it is an important issue for policymakers. We introduce a framework that enables us to calculate the normal unemployment rate for each of the four states in the Fourth District and compare that rate to the national normal rate. We conclude that these states and the District as a whole have very little labor market slack left from the Great Recession.
Economic Commentary , Issue January

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

Journal Article
How Aggregation Matters for Measured Wage Growth

Wage growth is often measured by the change in average hourly earnings (AHE), a gauge of overall wages that aggregates information on earnings and hours worked across individuals. A close look at this aggregation method demonstrates that AHE growth reflects disproportionately the profile of high-earning workers who typically display lower and less cyclically sensitive wage growth. Using data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), we adopt a different aggregation method and compute wage growth as the average of individuals’ wage growth. The analysis indicates that the CPS measure of ...
Economic Commentary , Volume 2020 , Issue 19 , Pages 9

Working Paper
Bad Jobs and Low Inflation

We study a model in which firms compete to retain and attract workers searching on the job. A drop in the rate of on-the-job search makes such wage competition less likely, reducing expected labor costs and lowering inflation. This model explains why inflation has remained subdued over the last decade, which is a conundrum for general equilibrium models and Phillips curves. Key to this success is the observed slowdown in the recovery of the employment-to-employment transition rate in the last five years, which is interpreted by the model as a decline in the share of employed workers searching ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP 2020-09

Working Paper
Oligopsonies over the Business Cycle

With a duopsony model, we show how the degree of labor market slack relates to earnings inequality and firm size distribution across local labor markets and the business cycle. In booms, due to the high aggregate productivity, there is fierce competition with resulting high wages and full employment. During recessions, there is labor market slack and firms enjoy local market power. In periods in which the economy is moving in or out of a recession, there is an “accommodation” phase, with firms shrinking their labor forces and paying lower wages instead of competing for poached workers. We ...
Working Papers , Paper 202006

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