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Bureau of Labor Statistics > Office of Survey Methods and Research > Publications > Browse Research Papers

Gross Job Flows over the Past Two Business Cycles: Not all Recoveries are Created Equal

R. Jason Faberman

Abstract

I compare the behavior of job creation and job destruction over the past two economic downturns. Both periods have brief but sharp rises in job destruction followed by flat net job growth. The dynamics underlying these slow recoveries differ drastically. In 1991-92, job destruction is slow to decline. In 2001, job creation falls dramatically and remains persistently low through 2003. I find this trend qualitatively similar in both manufacturing and service industries. I also find that neither a structural shift of jobs across industries nor increased trade liberalization is a consistent explanation for the recent lack of growth. Instead, the evidence suggests that a large drop in business investment may explain the decline in job creation.