The most obvious economic cost of recessions is that workers become involuntarily unemployed. During the average business cycle contraction, total employment declines by about 1.5 percent, the unemployment rate rises by 2.7 percentage points, and it takes almost two years before employment recovers its pre-recession level. Both fiscal policy and monetary policy are concerned with these business cycle deviations of employment from its "full-employment" or "equilibrium" level.
The aggregate statistics on employment and unemployment mask economically important information about the composition of the unemployed and their experience over time. This paper examines the differential experience during a business cycle of those who quit their jobs, those who are on layoff subject to future recall, and those who suffer permanent job separations. Using a new data set that assembles the flows of workers into and out of unemployment, employment, and not-in-the-labor-force, the authors examine the behavior over time of workers who enter and leave the ranks of the unemployed, grouped by the reason for unemployment. They find that a closer look at the flows into and out of unemployment that lie beneath changes in total unemployment improves forecasts of inflation and unemployment, relative to standard models.
The data are accessible through links to .txt files, listed by figure number and title. These files are available as space delimited text files with a double quote (") text qualifier, and missing values are indicated by "Nan." Those figures with multiple plots have one .txt file that includes all plots, appended one after the other.
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|Gross Worker Flows into and out of Employment|
|Average Monthly Values of Gross Stocks and Flows for Employment, Unemployment, and Not in the Labor Force|
|Flows out of Employment, by Reason for Unemployment|
|Escape Rates from Unemployment, by Reason Unemployed|
|Worker Flows in Manufacturing and Nonmanufacturing Sectors|
|Worker Flows by Industry|
|Escape Rates from Unemployment into Employment, by Sector of Previous Employment|
|Worker and Job Flows in Manufacturing|
|Comparison of "Permanent" Worker Flows and Job Flows in Manufacturing|
|Duration of Completed Unemployment Spells|
|Explaining High Unemployment Duration in the 1990s|
|Ratio of U-->N Flows to U-->E Flows|
|Recent Unemployment Forecasts|
|Alternative Labor Market Indicators of Inflation|