This paper exploits the differential financing needs across industrial sectors and provides strong empirical evidence that financing constraints of small businesses in the United States are important in explaining the unemployment dynamics during the Great Recession. We show that workers in small firms are more likely to become unemployed during the 2007-09 financial crisis if they work in industries with high external financing needs. We find very similar results for the 1990-91 recession, but not for the 2001 recession, where only the former was associated with a reduction in loan supply. These findings further support the credit constraints hypothesis.
This paper was revised in December 2011.
JEL Classifications: E32, G21, J63