Related BLS programs | Related articles
February 2011, Vol. 134, No. 2
Net flows in the U.S. labor market, 1990–2010
Robert Dixon, John Freebairn, and Guay C. Lim
Robert Dixon is a professor of economics, and John Freebairn occupies the Ritchie Chair in Economics, Department of Economics, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; Guay C. Lim is a professorial research fellow, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. E-mail: email@example.com
Except in the most recent recession, net flows were from unemployment to employment (even in previous recessions), from employment to not in the labor force (even in booms), and from not in the labor force to unemployment; changes in the unemployment rate across subperiods varied chiefly with the size of the net flow between employment and unemployment.
This article presents a simple framework for the systematic investigation of the relationship between net (and gross) flows among different labor market states and movements in the unemployment rate. The framework is then used to investigate the behavior of net flows of persons among employment, unemployment, and departure from the labor force (not in the labor force) in the United States over the 1990–2010 period. Understanding this behavior increases economists’ understanding of the progression of unemployment over the business cycle and aids in identifying the characteristics that make the most recent recession different from previous ones.1 The article contributes to the literature on gross flows2 and flow probabilities among various labor market states by investigating net flows between states over long periods.
Download full article in PDF
Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
Trends in labor force flows during recent recessions—Apr. 2009.
Studying the labor market using BLS labor dynamics data.—Feb. 2008.
Analyzing CPS data using gross flows.—Sept. 2005.
Estimating gross flows consistent with stocks in the CPS.—Sept. 2005.
Within Monthly Labor Review Online:
Welcome | Current Issue | Index | Subscribe | Archives
Exit Monthly Labor Review Online:
BLS Home | Publications & Research Papers