Myths and realities structural change in u s labor markets and the great recession
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Myths and Realities: Structural Change in U.S. Labor Markets and the Great Recession. Peter B. Doeringer Department of Economics, Boston University IILS Round Table on The Global Job Crisis: Emerging Perspectives International Labour Office, Geneva, 22 February 2013

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Myths and realities structural change in u s labor markets and the great recession

Myths and Realities: Structural Change in U.S. Labor Markets and the Great Recession

Peter B. Doeringer

Department of Economics, Boston University

IILS Round Table on The Global Job Crisis: Emerging Perspectives

International Labour Office, Geneva, 22 February 2013

I am grateful to the Economic Policy Institute for making a number of graphics available from The State of Working America (12th Edition)


Myths and realities structural change in u s labor markets and the great recession

Symptoms of the Great Recession

Myth or Reality During the Great Recession

Public Policies and Priorities


Symptoms of the great recession

Symptoms of the Great Recession


Unusual job losses

Unusual Job Losses


Unemployed workers and job openings by industry 2011 in millions

Unemployed Workers and Job Openings, By Industry, 2011 (in millions)


Long term unemployment 1948 2011

Long-term Unemployment, 1948–2011

38.1% January 2013


Myth or reality during the great recession

Myth or Reality During the Great Recession?

  • A university degree is no longer worth the investment

  • Women fared better than men in the recession

  • Good jobs have disappeared

  • Private welfare benefits are surviving; social safety nets have failed


A university degree i s no longer worth the investment

A University Degree Is No Longer Worth the Investment


Pre recession college earnings advantage male workers

Pre-Recession College Earnings Advantage: Male Workers


Unemployment rates rising for college graduates during the recession

Unemployment Rates Rising for College Graduates During the Recession


Entry level real wages of college graduates falling since 2002

Entry-level Real Wages of College Graduates Falling Since 2002


Entry level real wages of high s chool graduates falling since 2001

Entry-level Real Wages of High School GraduatesFalling Since 2001


College wage premiums are still rising

College Wage Premiums Are Still Rising


Women fared better than men in the recession

Women Fared Better Than Men in the Recession


Unemployment rates by gender 2000 2012

Unemployment Rates by Gender, 2000-2012


Job loss by gender in the great recession dec 2007 dec 2011

Job Loss by Gender In the Great Recession (Dec. 2007–Dec. 2011)


Cumulative change in real hourly wages of women by wage percentile 1979 2011

Cumulative Change In Real Hourly Wages of Women, by Wage Percentile, 1979–2011


Cumulative change in real hourly wages of men by wage percentile 1979 2011

Cumulative Change in Real Hourly Wages of Men, by Wage Percentile, 1979–2011


The gender wage gap continues to narrow

The Gender Wage Gap Continues to Narrow

  • 1939 = 62%

  • 1959 = 45%

  • 1979 = 38%

  • 1999 = 24%

  • 2007 = 18%

  • 2011 = 16%


Good jobs have disappeared

Good Jobs Have Disappeared


Long duration jobs 1983 2008 years with current employer wage salary workers age 20

Long-Duration Jobs (1983, 2008)Years with Current Employer (wage & salary workers age 20+)

19832008

20+ years 9%11%

10+ years27%28%

2 Years or Less37%34%

10+ Years, age 45-49

-- Men58%44%

-- Women33% 37%

10+ Years, age 55-59

-- Men66%55%

-- Women51%50%


Good jobs as a share of total employment 1979 2010 schmitt and jones cepr 2012

“Good” Jobs As a Share of Total Employment, 1979–2010 [Schmitt and Jones, CEPR, 2012 ]


Myths and realities structural change in u s labor markets and the great recession

% Change in Employment Shares by Type of Job Duties, 1981-2011[Jaimovich and Siu, The Trend is the Cycle, NBER Working Paper 18334, May 2012]


Private welfare benefits a re surviving social safety nets have failed

Private Welfare Benefits Are Surviving; Social Safety Nets Have Failed


Share of recent college graduates with employer health pension coverage 1979 2010

Share of Recent College Graduates With Employer Health/Pension Coverage, 1979–2010


Share of recent high school graduates with employer health pension coverage 1979 2010

Share of Recent High School Graduates with Employer Health & Pension Coverage, 1979–2010


Share of unemployed receiving unemployment insurance benefits 1989 2011

Share of Unemployed Receiving Unemployment Insurance Benefits, 1989-2011


Per capita social security expenditures and the elderly p overty r ate 1959 2011

Per Capita Social Security Expenditures and the Elderly Poverty Rate, 1959–2011


Public policy

Public Policy?

  • Priorities: More jobs, less chronic unemployment, better jobs, less labor market polarization

  • Active Policies

    • Better job matching

    • Education and training

    • Regional economic development and labor mobility

    • Work-based transitions: School-to-work, Re-employment

  • Labor Market Regulation

    • Minimum wages and employment standards

    • Unions and collective bargaining policy

    • Anti-discrimination policies

    • Immigration policy

    • Public sector employment and HR reforms

  • Full Employment


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