NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Trend is the Cycle: Job Polarization and Jobless Recoveries

Nir Jaimovich, Henry E. Siu

NBER Working Paper No. 18334
Issued in August 2012
NBER Program(s):   EFG   LS

Job polarization refers to the recent shrinking concentration of employment in occupations in the middle of the skill distribution. Jobless recoveries refers to the slow rebound in aggregate employment following recent recessions, despite recoveries in aggregate output. We show how these two phenomena are related. First, essentially all employment loss in middle-skill occupations occurs in economic downturns; in this sense, job polarization has an important cyclical component. Second, jobless recoveries in the aggregate are accounted for by jobless recoveries in the middle-skill occupations that are disappearing.

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This paper was revised on March 20, 2014

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