Occupations and Job Polarization
Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
- Chair: Bart Hobijn, Arizona State University
The Cyclical Component of Labor Market Polarization and Jobless Recoveries
AbstractWe analyze quarterly occupation-level data from the US Current Population Survey for 1976-2013. Based on common cyclical employment dynamics, we identify two clusters of occupations that roughly correspond to the widely discussed notion of “routine” and “non-routine” jobs. After decomposing the cyclical dynamics into a cluster-specific (“structural”) and an occupation-specific (“idiosyncratic”) component, we detect significant structural breaks in the systematic dynamics of both clusters around 1990. We show that, absent these breaks, employment in the three “jobless recoveries” since 1990 would have recovered significantly more strongly than observed in the data, even after controlling for observed idiosyncratic shocks.
The United States Job Ladder in the New Millennium
AbstractIn the years following 2000, the U.S. economy has exhibited relatively strong growth in employment in lower-productivity industries in which jobs pay less. In this study, we explore this buildup in light of the dramatic slowdown of the “job ladder” in the labor market downturns associated with the 2001 and 2007-2009 recessions. We propose and estimate a model of on-the-job search, which allows us to explore the effects of aggregate demand shocks on the composition of employment. When aggregate labor market conditions are weak, poaching, which reallocates workers from less productive to more productive employers, slows down. Our empirical analysis links the slowdown in the job ladder with the buildup in less productive jobs.
Early-Career Occupational Choices of Low-Skill Workers: A Historical Perspective
AbstractI study how occupational choices of young men have changed in the last four decades, and show that men entering the labor force in the 2010s are more likely to start in a "dead-end" job than their peers in the 1980s. I measure the skill remoteness of occupations using historical inter-occupational worker flows, and conclude that low-skill workers in the later part of the sample tend to start working in jobs that offer fewer options for occupational switches. I then quantify the impact of this change on low-skill workers attachment to the labor force, employment, and earnings, and relate my results to the secular decline in the employment rate of young men.
- J2 - Demand and Supply of Labor