New Stylized Facts on Occupational Employment and Their Implications: Evidence from Consistent Employment Data
The business cycle properties of occupational employment have not yet been extensively explored because of inconsistencies in the aggregate employment series by occupation. Using consistent aggregate hours data constructed through the method of “conversion factors,” which was developed by the U.S. Census Bureau, we provide new empirical facts on the cyclical behaviors of occupational employment and discuss their implications. First, employment of the middle-skill occupation group is negatively affected by a technology shock, while those of high-skill and low-skill groups are positively correlated with it. Second, it is the middle-skill group that experiences the largest decline in employment volatility after the mid-1980s. Last, recessions since the 1980s have heterogeneous impacts on different occupations, defining the characteristics of each recession. We further discuss the value of having consistent employment data in studies of business cycles.
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