Jason Furman, Melissa Kearney, Wilson Powell, 06 August 2021

As of June 2021, the US labour-force participation rate had not yet recovered to pre-COVID-19 levels. This column explores how much the aggregate decline in employment between 2020 and 2021 can be explained by excess job loss among parents, and particularly mothers, of young children, who have had to contend with school and daycare closures during the pandemic. The findings suggest that excessive employment declines among parents do not explain a sizeable share of ongoing job loss. A larger decline in employment for parents of young children was seen only among women without a bachelor’s degree.

Guay Lim, Robert Dixon, Jan van Ours, 28 January 2019

One version of Okun’s law specifies a relationship between the change in the unemployment rate and output growth. This column uses US labour market flows data to investigate this relationship between 1990 and 2017. It finds that the net flows between employment and unemployment are sensitive to changes in growth but respond differently to positive and negative changes. This implies that the US Okun relationship is stable but asymmetric, the effect of a change being larger in contractionary periods than in expansionary ones. 

Stefania Albanesi, Claudia Olivetti, 20 July 2007

Medical advances in the early part of the twentieth century, especially those concerning child-bearing, increased the fraction of women’s lives that could be devoted to the labour market. They account for the threefold increase in the labour force participation of married women with children between 1920 and 1970 in the US.

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