We develop a framework where mismatch between vacancies and job seekers across sectors translates into higher unemployment by lowering the aggregate job-finding rate. We use this framework to measure the contribution of mismatch to the recent rise in U.S. unemployment by exploiting two sources of cross-sectional data on vacancies: JOLTS and HWOL (a new database covering the universe of online U.S. job advertisements). Mismatch across industries and occupations explains at most one-third of the total observed increase in the unemployment rate. Geographical mismatch plays no apparent role. ...
Individual and Market-Level Effects of UI Policies: Evidence from Missouri
We develop a method to jointly measure the response of worker search effort (individual effect) and vacancy creation (market-level effect) to changes in the duration of unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. To implement this approach, we exploit an unexpected cut in UI durations in Missouri and provide quasi-experimental evidence on the effect of UI on the labor market. The data indicate that the cut in Missouri significantly increased job finding rates by both raising the search effort of unemployed workers and the availability of jobs. The latter accounts for at least a third and up to 100 ...
Interregional Migration and Housing Vacancy: Theory and Empirics
We examine homeowner vacancy rate interdependencies over time and space through the channel of migration. Our theoretical analysis extends the Wheaton (1990) search and matching model for housing by incorporating interregional spillovers due to some households’ desires to migrate between regions and by allowing for regime-switching behavior. Our empirical analysis of vacancy rates for the entire U.S. and for Census regions provides visual evidence for the possibility of regime-switching behavior. We explicitly test our model by estimating basic Vector Autoregression (VAR) and ...
The Intensity of Job Search and Search Duration
We use micro data on applications to job openings by individuals on a job search website to study the relationship between search intensity and search duration. Our data allow us to control for several factors that can affect the measured relationship between intensity and duration, including the composition of job seekers and changes in the number of available job openings over the duration of search. We find that a job seeker sends fewer applications per week as search continues. We also find that job seekers who search on the website longer tend to send more applications in every period. ...
Do Unemployment Benefits Expirations Help Explain the Surge in Job Openings?
Job openings are arguably one of the most important indicators of recovery in the labor market, as they reflect employers? willingness to hire. The number of job openings has recovered steadily since the recession, yet through the end of 2013, the openings rate was still substantially below its pre-recession peak (see chart below). Starting in January 2014, however, the number of job openings increased dramatically, up by 20 percent through June 2014, and job openings relative to employment jumped back to the peak of the previous expansion. In this post, we argue that the expiration of the ...
Shifts in the Beveridge curve
This note puts the current shift in the Beveridge curve into context by examining the behavior of the curve since 1950. Outward shifts in the Beveridge curve have been common occurrences during U.S. recoveries. By itself, the presence of a shift has not been a good predictor of whether the unemployment rate at the end of the expansion following a shift was higher or lower than that in the preceding expansion.
The Unintended Consequences of Employer Credit Check Bans for Labor Markets
Over the last decade, 11 states have restricted employers? access to the credit reports of job applicants. We document a significant decline in county-level vacancies after these laws were enacted: Job postings fall by 5.5 percent in affected occupations relative to exempt occupations in the same county and the same occupation nationwide. Cross-sectional heterogeneity in the estimated effects suggests that employers use credit reports as signals: Vacancies fall more in counties with a large share of subprime residents, while they fall less in occupations with other commonly available signals.
Downskilling: changes in employer skill requirements over the business cycle
Using a novel database of 82.5 million online job postings, we show that employer skill requirements fell as the labor market improved from 2010 to 2014. We find that a 1 percentage point reduction in the local unemployment rate is associated with a roughly 0.27 percentage point reduction in the fraction of jobs requiring at least a bachelor?s degree and a roughly 0.23 percentage point reduction in the fraction requiring five or more years of experience. This pattern is established using multiple measures of labor availability, is bolstered by similar trends along heretofore unmeasured ...
Upskilling: do employers demand greater skill when skilled workers are plentiful?
The Great Recession and subsequent recovery have been particularly painful for low-skilled workers. From 2007 to 2012, the unemployment rate rose by 6.4 percentage points for noncollege workers while it rose by only 2.3 percentage points for the college educated. This differential impact was evident within occupations as well. One explanation for the differential impact may be the ability of highly skilled workers to take middle- and low-skilled jobs. Indeed, over this period the share of workers with a college degree in traditionally middle-skill occupations increased rapidly. Such growth in ...
No Longer Qualified? Changes in the Supply and Demand for Skills within Occupations
Using a novel database of 159 million online job postings, we examine changes in employer skill requirements for education and specific skillsets between 2007 and 2017. We find that upskilling—in terms of increasing demands for bachelor’s degrees as well as software skills—was a persistent trend among high-skill occupations, but either a temporary or non-existent phenomenon among middle-skill and low-skill occupations. We also find evidence that persistentupskilling in the high-skill sector contributed to greater occupational mismatch that remained elevated during the recovery from the ...