Panel: New Sources and Methods for Measuring the Recession and Recovery
(Data Watch)

Friday, November 9, 2012: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Mencken (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizers:  Henry Hyatt, Center for Economic Studies, US Census Bureau
Moderators:  Sabrina Pabilonia, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sophie Mitra, Fordham University
Chairs:  Thomas DeLeire, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Levels of employment and output only provide a partial view of the health of our economy. In recent years, administrative records sources have been used to create new and innovative data sources such as the Quarterly Workforce Indicators and the Business Dynamics Statistics. These new sources have advanced our understanding of the labor market, for example, by distinguishing between job creation (changes in employment at expanding businesses) from job destruction (changes in employment at contracting ones). Additionally, there has been an increased focus on hires and employment separations, and the introduction of new, timely local-area employment estimates. One of the main lessons learned from these new data is that beneath the changes in employment levels over the business cycle, there are even more cyclical patterns in turnover and churning – and this lesson is even beginning to influence how economists should think about the business-level heterogeneity that underlies changes in output. The panel includes four papers that are at the cutting edge of economic statistics, and each applies newly available data to help us better understand the most recent recession and subsequent recovery, as well how the US economy fared in the preceding years. The first paper, “The Secular Decline in Business Dynamism in the US”, shows that in the decades leading up to the most recent recession, the rate at which business startups were being created was in decline, along with job reallocations between businesses, exploring explanations and implications. A second paper, “Gross Employment, Job Flows, and the Role of Education in the Great Recession” characterizes how job creation and destruction rates as well as hires and separations changed for different demographic groups, as well as how the recent recession looks at the local level. The final two papers introduce and examine new economic indicators, and explore how they vary in the cross section and over time. “Job-to-Job Flows and the Business Cycle” explores a new database of “job-to-job flows” (separations linked to contemporaneous or subsequent hires) to show that flow rates declined precipitously for young workers as the economy entered the most recent recession, and explores how workers’ movements from industry-to-industry have changed over time. A final paper, “Export Flows and Global Shocks” shows how the methodology that has been used to decompose employment flows can be applied to components of output, namely exports, exploring the crucial role of firm entry and exit, in and out of export markets in explaining overall changes in in U.S. exporting and examining exporting firms’ responses to global shocks along the extensive margin.

The Secular Decline In Business Dynamism In the US
John Haltiwanger, Department of Economics, University of Maryland, Ron Jarmin, U.S. Census Bureau, Javier Miranda, Center for Economic Studies, US Census Bureau and Ryan Decker, University of Maryland

Gross Employment, Job Flows, and the Role of Education In the Great Recession
John Abowd, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University and Lars Vilhuber, Cornell University

Job-to-Job Flows and the Business Cycle
Henry Hyatt, US Census Bureau and Erika McEntarfer, Center for Economic Studies, US Census Bureau

Export Flows and Global Shocks
Fariha Kamal and Cornell J Krizan, Center for Economic Studies, US Census Bureau

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