Wednesday, May 9, 2012

U.S. Employment and Hours as Percent of Previous Peak

Below, Corrections plots U.S. Employment (nonfarm and total private) and Hours (aggregate hours of nonsupervisory and production employees), along with dated NBER recessions (click to enlarge).


  1. Very cool graph

  2. Agreed--it really helps illustrate that much of the volatility in aggregate hours comes not from adjustments in hours/person, but in people working.

    This, in turn, helps explain why authors like Heckman declare the price elasticity of hours (per person) is nearly zero, but authors like Prescott are correct when they say that aggregate hours are highly variable (and elastic!). Extensive margin is the bigger margin.

  3. Looking at the graph, it appears that the duration of the declines is increasing fairly significantly.