NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Richard Ryan

University of Michigan
Department of Economics
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2015Labor Market Polarization Over the Business Cycle
with Christopher L. Foote: w21030
Job losses during the Great Recession were concentrated among middle-skill workers, the same group that over the long run has suffered the most from automation and international trade. How might long-run occupational polarization be related to cyclical changes in middle-skill employment? We find that middle-skill occupations have traditionally been more cyclical than other occupations, in part because of the volatile industries that tend to employ middle-skill workers. Unemployed middle-skill workers also appear to have few attractive or feasible employment alternatives outside of their skill class, and the drop in male participation rates during the past several decades can be explained in part by an erosion of middle-skill job opportunities. Taken together, these results imply that a for...

Published: Christopher L. Foote & Richard W. Ryan, 2015. "Labor-Market Polarization over the Business Cycle," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 371 - 413. citation courtesy of

June 2014Labor-Market Polarization over the Business Cycle
with Christopher L. Foote
in NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2014, Volume 29, Jonathan A. Parker and Michael Woodford, editors
Job losses in the Great Recession were concentrated among middle-skill workers, the same group that has suffered the most over the long-run from automation and international trade. How might long-run occupational polarization be related to cyclical changes in middle-skill employment? We find that middle-skill jobs have traditionally been more cyclical than other jobs, in part because of the volatile industries that tend to employ middle-skill workers. Also, unemployed middle-skill workers appear to have few attractive or feasible employment alternatives outside of their skill class, and the drop in male participation rates during the past several decades can be explained in part by a drying-up of middle-skill job opportunities. Taken together, these results imply that any model relating po...
 
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