NBER Working Papers by James Spletzer

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

Working Papers

September 2012The United States Labor Market: Status Quo or A New Normal?
with Edward P. Lazear: w18386
The recession of 2007-09 witnessed high rates of unemployment that have been slow to recede. This has led many to conclude that structural changes have occurred in the labor market and that the economy will not return to the low rates of unemployment that prevailed in the recent past. Is this true? The question is important because central banks may be able to reduce unemployment that is cyclic in nature, but not that which is structural. An analysis of labor market data suggests that there are no structural changes that can explain movements in unemployment rates over recent years. Neither industrial nor demographic shifts nor a mismatch of skills with job vacancies is behind the increased rates of unemployment. Although mismatch increased during the recession, it retreated at the sam...
March 2012Hiring, Churn and the Business Cycle
with Edward P. Lazear: w17910
Churn, defined as replacing departing workers with new ones as workers move to more productive uses, is an important feature of labor dynamics. The majority of hiring and separation reflects churn rather than hiring for expansion or separation for contraction. Using the JOLTS data, we show that churn decreased significantly during the most recent recession with almost four-fifths of the decline in hiring reflecting decreases in churn. Reductions in churn have costs because they reflect a reduction in labor movement to higher valued uses. We estimate the cost of reduced churn to be $208 billion. On an annual basis, this amounts to about .4% of GDP for a period of 3 1/2 years.

Published: “Hiring, Churn, and the Business Cycle” (with Edward P. Lazear). American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, Vol. 102, No 3, May 2012, pp. 575-579.

March 2009Exploring Differences in Employment between Household and Establishment Data
with Katharine G. Abraham, John C. Haltiwanger, Kristin Sandusky: w14805
Using a large data set that links individual Current Population Survey (CPS) records to employer-reported administrative data, we document substantial discrepancies in basic measures of employment status that persist even after controlling for known definitional differences between the two data sources. We hypothesize that reporting discrepancies should be most prevalent for marginal workers and marginal jobs, and find systematic associations between the incidence of reporting discrepancies and observable person and job characteristics that are consistent with this hypothesis. The paper discusses the implications of the reported findings for both micro and macro labor market analysis.

Published: Katharine G. Abraham & John Haltiwanger & Kristin Sandusky & James R. Spletzer, 2013. "Exploring Differences in Employment between Household and Establishment Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(S1), pages S129 - S172. citation courtesy of

November 2000Wages, Productivity, and the Dynamic Interaction of Businesses and Workers
with John Haltiwanger, Julia Lane: w7994
This paper exploits a new matched universal and longitudinal employer-employee database at the US Census Bureau to empirically investigate the link between firms' choice of worker mix and the implied relationships between productivity and wages. We particularly focus on the decision making process of new firms and examine the role of both learning and selection. Our key empirical results are: (i) We find substantial and persistent differences in earnings per worker, output per worker, and worker mix across businesses within narrowly defined industries, which remain even after controlling for other observable characteristics. (ii) We find that new businesses exhibit even greater heterogeneity in earnings and productivity than do mature businesses, but that they adjust to the mature busi...

Published: Haltiwanger, John C. & Lane, Julia I. & Spletzer, James R., 2007. "Wages, productivity, and the dynamic interaction of businesses and workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 575-602, June. citation courtesy of

Contact and additional information for this authorAll NBER papers and publicationsNBER Working Papers only

NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us