NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Three-And-A-Half Million U.S. Employees Have Been Mislaid: Or, An Explanation of Unemployment, 1934-1941

Michael R. Darby

NBER Working Paper No. 88
Issued in May 1975

A major conceptual error in the standard BLS and Lebergott unemployment estimates for 1933-1943 is reported. Emergency workers (employees of federal contracyclical programs such as WPA) were counted as unemployed on a normal-jobs-to-be-created instead of job-seekers unemployment definition. For 1934-1941, the corrected unemployment levels are reduced by two to three-and-a half million people and the rates by 4 to 7 percentage points. The corrected data show strong movement toward the natural unemployment rate after 1933 and are very well explained by an anticipations-search model using annual full-time earnings.

download in pdf format
   (299 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (299 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0088

Published: Darby, Michael R. "Three-And-A-Half Million U.S. Employees Have Been Mislaid: Or, An Explanation of Unemployment, 1934-1941." Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 84, No. 1, (February 1976), pp. 1-16. citation courtesy of

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Kane w9703 A Quasi-Experimental Estimate of the Impact of Financial Aid on College-Going
Landon-Lane, Rockoff, and Steckel w15596 Droughts, Floods and Financial Distress in the United States
Hornbeck w15605 The Enduring Impact of the American Dust Bowl: Short and Long-run Adjustments to Environmental Catastrophe
Lebergott Annual Estimates of Unemployment in the United States, 1900-1954
Becker Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

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

Contact Us