An Uneven Road, Then a Cliff: US Labor Markets, 2000-10

Journal Article

An Uneven Road, Then a Cliff: US Labor Markets, 2000-10

October 20, 2011

Abstract

In this paper we analyze labor market outcomes over the business cycle from 2000-07, as well as the labor market effects of the Great Recession since 2008. We use data from the Current Population Surveys (CPS) to analyze these outcomes. We find that hourly wages grew only modestly for most groups, and annual earnings stagnated, between 2000 and 2007. Young and less-educated men did relatively poorly, while highly-educated and high-earning workers did relatively well, especially among women. During the recession, the groups that fared badly during the preceding economic cycle were also the ones hardest hit during the downturn. A slow recovery is forecast from the recession, and we likely will return to a relatively weak labor market afterwards. The implications of these findings for policy are considered.

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