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

Job Flows and the Recent Business Cycle: Not All Recoveries Are Created Equal

R. Jason Faberman

Abstract

The last two economic downturns are notable for their slow labor market recoveries. Yet, the behavior of their underlying gross job flows is quite different. The 1990-92 period had a relatively slow decline in job destruction, while the 2001-03 period had a large, persistent decline in job creation that occurs across most industries. The dynamics of the latter period run counter to the conventional wisdom that large movements in job destruction drive business cycles. Evidence spanning the entire postwar period suggests that job creation is at a historic low, and that its recent patterns are part of decades-long decline in the magnitude and volatility of job reallocation.