Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary (JOLTS) See also the JOLTS Homepage.

Unemployment benefits and job match quality By Arash Nekoei, Andrea Weber, Vox (blog), 10 July 2015. [The generosity of unemployment insurance is often cited as a reason for long spells of joblessness. But this view neglects other important, and potentially positive, economic aspects of such programmes. Using Austrian data, this column presents evidence that unemployment insurance has a positive effect on the quality of jobs that recipients find. This can in turn have a positive effect on future tax revenues, and has implications for the debate on optimal insurance generosity.]

Expanding Unemployment Insurance By Tim Sablik, Econ Focus, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, Second Quarter, 2014. [Longer unemployment benefits often mean longer unemployment spells, but economists say that's not always a bad thing.]

Unemployment Has Changed. Unemployment Benefits Haven’t. By BEN CASSELMAN, FiveThirtyEight (blog), February 3, 2015. []

How unemployment warps your personality over time By Danielle Paquette, Wonkblog (blog), The Washington Post, February 24, 2015. ["The authors focused on five traits: conscientiousness, neuroticism, agreeableness, extraversion and openness. Dispositions of perpetually job-hunting people transformed considerably -- and dismally -- compared with their steadily working counterparts."]

1 in 5 suicides is associated with unemployment EurekAlert, AAAS, February 10, 2015. [Suicide rates are correlated with unemployment.]

The NAIRU, explained: why economists don't want unemployment to drop too low by Matthew Yglesias, Vox, November 14, 2014. []

Job Shortage or Stagnation Vacation? By Noah Smith, BloombergView (blog), September 4, 2014. [How can we tell if government assistance to poor people makes them unwilling to work?]

All you need are 24 indicators to understand the labor market By Ylan Q. Mui, Wonkblog (blog), The Washington Post, August 29, 2014. [The unemplyment rate is not enough.]

THE TROUBLE WITH SURVEYS: A New Reason to Question the Official Unemployment Rate By David Leonhardt, The Upshot (blog), The New York Times, AUG. 26, 2014. ["The unemployment rate appears to have become less accurate over the last two decades, in part because of a rise in nonresponse... the people who do not respond have different experiences in the job market than those who do"]

Paying Employees to Stay, Not to Go By STEVEN GREENHOUSE and STEPHANIE STROM, The New York Times, JULY 4, 2014. [Boloco and Shake Shack Offer Above-Average Pay, in an illustration of the use of efficiency wages to reduce labor turnover.]

OECD Harmonised Unemployment Rates News Release: April 2014 OECD, 11 June 2014. []

This is why it’s so hard to define unemployment BY YLAN Q. MUI, Wonkblog (blog), The Washington Post, June 5, 2014. [You are not "unemployed" if you are not "looking for work". But what does that mean?]

The Decline of Work Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2014. [The employment ratio is stagnant even for Americans of prime working age, and it is all about the incentives to work and hire.]

The Unemployment Puzzle: Where Have All the Workers Gone? By GLENN HUBBARD, The Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2014. [Why the labor force participation rate has fallen and what can be done about it.]

Rand Slaps Down Rand By Paul Krugman, The Conscience of a Liberal (blog), The New York Times, December 31, 2013. [Unemployment benefits don't cause unemployment.]

The Unemployment Rate at Full Employment: How Low Can You Go? By JARED BERNSTEIN and DEAN BAKER, Economix (blog), The New York Times, November 20, 2013. [As the Federal Reserve tries to calibrate the unemployment target in its monetary policy, it can afford to aim for a far lower rate without inviting an unacceptable level of inflation, two economists write.]

Caught in a Revolving Door of Unemployment By ANNIE LOWREY, The New Times, Published: November 16, 2013. [Some economists fear that the long-term unemployment crisis affecting millions of Americans might be a permanent change, with far-reaching and damaging consequences.]

The Wages of Unemployment Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, October 18, 2013. [A new study shows how jobless insurance increased joblessness. Extended unemployment insurance raises wages, thereby making job creation by businesses less profitable.]

U.S. Employment Situation Monthly Report Summary

The missing millions The Economist, September 28, 2013. [Unemployment insurance raises both the unemployment rate and the participation rate. Disability insurance reduces both.]

Wanted: Jobs for the New 'Lost' Generation By BEN CASSELMAN and MARCUS WALKER, The Wall Street Journal, September 13, 2013. [Those who entered the job market during the Great recession may have a long slog ahead of them.]

Long-Term Jobless Left Out of the Recovery By BEN CASSELMAN, The Wall Street Journal, September 2, 2013. [Despite Improving Economy, Prospects Are Bleak for Millions of Unemployed. A growing body of economic research suggests that the longer the long-run unemployed remain on the sidelines, the less likely they will be to work again; for many, it may already be too late.]

Layoffs Taboo, Japan Workers Are Sent to the Boredom Room By HIROKO TABUCHI, The New York Times, Published: August 16, 2013. [Facing a sluggish economy and increasing competition, Japan’s prime minister and major companies want to reduce longstanding restrictions on dismissing full-time workers.]

An Employment Number That Isn't Budging By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM, Economix (blog), The New York Times, August 2, 2013. [Although the unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent, the share of American adults with jobs is stuck at just 58.7 percent.]

Moochers, Grifters, and the Beveridge Curve By Paul Krugman, The conscience of a Liberal (blog), The New York Times, July 1, 2013. [Don't blame unemployment insurance for high unemployment, says the author. But read the first few readers' comments.]

War on the Unemployed By PAUL KRUGMAN, The New York Times, Published: June 30, 2013. [Bad economy? Punish the victims!]

North Carolina’s Deep Cut to Jobless Benefits Takes Effect Amid Protests By ALAN BLINDER, The New York Times, Published: July 1, 2013. [The changes enacted by the Republican-controlled legislature cut the maximum benefit by more than one-third, and opponents said the measure was “literally hurting people.”]

Joblessness Shortens Lifespan of Least Educated White Women, Research Says By SABRINA TAVERNISE, The New York Times, Published: May 30, 2013. [The aim of the new study was to explain the growing gap in mortality between white women without a high school diploma and those with a high school diploma or more.]

Study: Higher levels of homeownership can kill jobs By Brad Plumer, Wonkblog (blog), The Washington Post, Published: May 7, 2013. []

Challenge to Dogma on Owning a Home By FLOYD NORRIS, The New York Times, Published: May 9, 2013. [The benefits of homeownership are cited repeatedly in justifying the tax breaks given to home buyers. But a study has tied homeownership with rising levels of unemployment.]

The Wages of Unemployment By Richard Vedder, The Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2013. [U.S. Labor-force participation has declined since 2000, and among the reasons are soaring government benefits.]

Over 50, and Under No Illusions By CAITLIN KELLY, The New York Times, Published: January 12, 2013. [Many people aged 55 to 64, who had been dreaming of easy retirement, have had to remake their lives to find work during the recession and its aftermath.]

Long-Term Jobless Begin to Find Work By BEN CASSELMAN, The Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2013. [Fears that many long-term unemployed workers would become permanently unemployable, creating a "structural" unemployment problem akin to what Europe suffered in the 1980s are beginning to recede. The Great Recession unemployment was largely cyclical.]

Five myths about the unemployedBy Rick McGahey and Teresa Ghilarducci, The Washington Post, Published: December 7, 2012.

Young, Educated and Jobless in France By STEVEN ERLANGER, The New York Times, Published: December 2, 2012. [Despite solid credentials, college graduates cannot find permanent jobs that get them on the path to the taxpaying, property-owning French ideal that was once the norm.]

Mishmash Not by Paul Krugman, The Conscience of a Liberal (blog), The New York Times, September 2, 2012. [Edward Lazear, an economist advisor to Republicans, looks at the Great recession unemployment data and judges it to be cyclical, not structural.]

Number of the Week: Did U.S. Actually Shed 195,000 Jobs in July? By Phil Izzo, Real Time Economics (blog), Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2012.

In Spain, Jobless Find a Refuge Off the Books By RAPHAEL MINDER, The New York Times, May 17, 2012 [As the recession deepens, more workers are getting by on the black-market economy that amounts to as much as a fifth of the country’s gross domestic product.]

The Help-Wanted Sign Comes With a Frustrating Asterisk By CATHERINE RAMPELL, The New York Times, July 25, 2011. [Many employers consider or strongly prefer only people who are employed or recently laid off. This is how short-term economic hiccups can turn into a long-term disease.]

Somehow, the Unemployed Became Invisible By CATHERINE RAMPELL, The New York Times, July 9, 2011. [In past downturns, Americans demanded politicians' attention. But this time, the nation's jobless are mostly getting ignored.]

Some Unemployed Find Fault in Extension of Jobless Benefits By SHAILA DEWAN, The New York Times, October 7, 2011. [Even some beneficiaries of jobless benefits are arguing that it's a hindrance to the economy and discourages workers from finding a job.]

Unemployed, and Likely to Stay That Way, By CATHERINE RAMPELL, The New York Times, December 2, 2010. [The longer people stay out of work, the more trouble they have finding new work, adding to the challenge for policy makers trying to reduce joblessness.]

Will Today’s Unemployed Become Tomorrow’s Unemployable? By CATHERINE RAMPELL, Economix (blog), The New York Times, December 2, 2010, 3:34 pm. [When "cyclical" unemployment becomes "structural" unemployment, as the long-term unemployed lose their connection to the job market.]

Why Denmark Is Shrinking Its Social Safety Net By LIZ ALDERMAN, Economix (blog), The New York Times, August 16, 2010. [Here Liz Alderman provides more statistical detail about why the Danish government has cut the duration of unemployment assistance from four to two years--see link to the main report below. Take a look at the chart in Alderman's blog entry: it is a masterpiece of pure visual exposition. It should convince one and all that people will stay unemployed as long as it doesn't hurt to be unemployed.]

Denmark Tightens Its Generous Jobless Benefits (Video) By LIZ ALDERMAN, The New York Times, August 16, 2010. [Denmark's unemployment insurance system pays unemployed workers between 70 and 80% of their pre-unemployment salary for up to two years--it used to be four years, until recently. This makes Denmark's unemployment assistance the most generous in the world. (In the United States, by comparison, the unemployed get half their pre-unemployment salary for up to just half a year, and that too if the laid off worker qualifies for unemployment assistance.) Moreover, 80% of Danish workers belong to labor unions. (In the United States, fewer than 15% do so.) And yet, Denmark's normal unemployment rate is just 1.7%. During the economic crisis, that rate increased to 4.2%, still less than half of the US unemployment rate of 9.5%. Such low unemployment is mainly due to the government's massive efforts to help unemployed workers find jobs. The labor unions help out too. And businesses, because they are free to hire and fire workers, have little reason to hesitate about giving unemployed workers the chance to prove themselves. It all seems paradoxical, but the system actually works! (See also the link to Marcus Walker's 2006 article, on this page below.]

Incentives Not to Work Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2010. [Why extending unemployment benefits extends unemployment.]

Economics focus: Intricate workings, The Economist, June 15, 2006. [Tackling unemployment requires a careful mixture of policies: Unemployment benefits should not be too generous or available for too long; minimum wages should not be too high; employers should be free to hire and fire as needed; payroll taxes should be low; education and re-training programs should be easily available to laid-off workers. The Scandinavian countries are an exception: although they provide generous unemployment benefits, they track the job-seeking activities of unemployed workers so closely that laid-off workers do not stay unemployed too long.]

'Real Swedish jobless rate 15%' By David Ibison, Financial Times, June 15 2006. [The article above may have to be reevaluated if this article is to be believed! Apparently the Swedish unemployment rate is not as low as the official statistics show: "McKinsey reached its conclusions by including those who want to work and those who could do so, meaning people on government programmes as well as those on prolonged sick leave.]

Rising disability rates test policymakers By Ralph Atkins, The Financial Times, June 14, 2006. [It is sometimes thought that the unemployed are simply lazy people who are hooked on unemployment benefits and that governments could easily reduce unemployment by cutting those benefits and forcing the unemployed into work. This policy may work if jobs are really available. Otherwise, the jobless, when pushed, become desperate and begin pretending that they are sick or disabled. This article discusses a rise in disability and sickness levels in Europe when governments adopted tough policies to reduce unemployment.]

Retraining Laid-Off Workers, but for What?, By LOUIS UCHITELLE, The New York Times, March 26, 2006. [Retraining of the unemployed may well in Denmark--see next article--but the US may be a different story.]

Soft Landing: For the Danish, A Job Loss Can Be Learning Experience By MARCUS WALKER, The Wall Street Journal, March 21, 2006. [Denmark has achieved very low unemployment rates by an unorthodox mix of policies. Danish businesses can freely hire and fire workers. Knowing that they can easily get rid of unsuitable workers, businesses are willing to give every applicant a chance. This keeps unemployment low. Denmark spends a lot of money on the retraining of laid-off workers. This drives the unemployment rate even lower. But retraining costs money. So, taxes are high in Denmark.]

Where to Be Jobless in Europe By MARK LANDLER, The New York Times, October 9, 2005. [You wont believe how generous unemployment insurance is in Europe until you read this.]

The New Profile of the Long-Term Unemployed, By LOUIS UCHITELLE, The New York Times, May 24, 2005. [It's not enough to just count the unemployed, we need to look at how many have been unemployed for a long time. The longer one spends in unemployment, the harder it is to get out of unemployment. When the economy goes through rapid structural change--with old industries being rapidly replaced by new industries--and when many workers are older workers who cannot easily be retrained for new types of work, long-term unemployment starts rising. Moreover, businesses are often unwilling to hire older laid-off workers even if they are able to do the work.]

Workers or shirkers The Economist, January 27, 2005. [Why, at a time of very low unemployment, is America's labor-force participation rate rising, especially for young and middle-aged workers? Maybe these two things are linked: maybe workers are quitting the labor force out of frustration at not being able to find jobs and because they are no longer looking for jobs they are not being counted as unemployed. So, we mustn't look only at the unemployment rate. We need to look at the participation rate also. A fall in the unemployment rate is really good news if the labor-force participation rate is not falling at the same time. On the other hand, if both rates are falling, you can't be sure that the news is good.]

Germany Under a Microscope: Its Labor-Market Experiment Will Offer Lessons for Rest of Europe
December 31, 2004
[Germany tries to get tough on the chronically unemployed.]

Where Do the Jobs Come From?
The New York Times,
September 21, 2004
[Do small businesses create more jobs than big businesses? Should the government give tax breaks to small businesses in the hope of creating more jobs? It turns out that the share of all US jobs that are in small businesses has remained constant for a long time. Moreover, those jobs tend not to pay well or give good benefits.]

THE DATA: A Job Picture Painted With Different Brushes
< nyt_byline type= version=1.0 />By FLOYD NORRIS
The New York Times,
August 7, 2004
[Published on the same day as the next article bemoaning the paucity of new jobs, this article shows that the jobs data can be confusing and need to be looked at very carefully, especially when jobs data become part of political controversy.]

In Blow to Bush, Only 32,000 Jobs Created in July
The New York Times,
August 7, 2004
[Why so few new jobs? This article discusses almost all the main reasons: rapid technological growth enabled businesses to get the same work done with fewer workers; some companies moved their operations overseas where labor is cheaper; rising energy costs made production less profitable, thereby reducing new hiring; people had already spent the tax cuts they had received and, therefore, were now spending less; and interest rates had risen, making it difficult for people to borrow money for spending purposes.]

More Jobs, Worse Work
By Stephen S. Roach
The New York Times,
July 22, 2004
[A fall in the unemployment rate need not be something to celebrate if the newly created jobs are worse--that is, less well paid--that the old jobs that disappeared. We need to pay attention to both the quantity and the quality of the new jobs that are created in a recovering economy.]

March 9, 2004
[This article shows that the jobs data can be confusing and need to be looked at very carefully, especially when jobs data become part of political controversy.]

Lingering Job Insecurity of Silicon Valley
< nyt_byline type= version=1.0 />By STEVE LOHR and MATT RICHTEL
The New York Times,
March 7, 2004
[In 2004, the unemployment rate for computer professionals--traditionally a low-unemployment group--went up to unusually high levels. Why? Outsourcing of computer work to low-wage countries? No. "The impact of outsourcing is overblown," according to Professor Erik Brynjolfsson of MIT. "The far larger factor is substituting technology for labor." In other words, innovative computer software was used to increase the productivity of computer professionals, and when workers become more productive, businesses need fewer of them, at least in the short run.]

RETRAINING FOR WHAT? If You're a Waiter, the Future Is Rosy
The New York Times,
March 7, 2004
[This article--though full of exaggerated fears--highlights the possibility that globalization may make it hard for some laid off workers to find jobs by retraining themselves for new careers.]

More Americans Are Leaving The Work Force
February 17, 2004
[The labor-force participation rate has been falling in the US. Why?]

The reserve army
The Economist
Feb 12th 2004
[The unemployment rate is, in fact, a poor measure of economic health. Even the simple matter of counting the employed is not simple. But, when all is said and done, there remains a big gap between the US and Europe: in the US, 70% of all working-age people are employed, whereas, in Europe, only 60% are.]

Lending a Lasting Hand
Chronicle of Higher Education
January 16, 2004
[One way to help the unemployed without making them lazy is for the government to give everybody a guaranteed basic income! There are other things the government could do to directly reduce unemployment like creating government jobs when private-sector jobs are scarce or giving businesses a subsidy for hiring low-skilled employees who would otherwise not be hired.]

The Unemployment Myth
< nyt_byline type= version=1.0 />By AUSTAN GOOLSBEE
The New York Times,
November 30, 2003
[The US Social Security system provides assistance to qualifying disabled workers. In the late 1980's and early 1990's the US Congress made it easier for workers to get disability benefits. Subsequently many workers who were laid off claimed and received disability benefits for hard-to-verify ailments such as back pain and mental disorders, indicating that there was a whole lotta faking goin' on. These workers were classified as disabled, not unemployed. It follows, that one needs to be careful when one interprets unemployment data.]

The Great Job Machine
< nyt_byline type= version=1.0 />By W. MICHAEL COX and RICHARD ALM
The New York Times,
November 7, 2003
[The US labor market is marked by a lot of continuous turmoil: lots of workers lose their jobs and lots of new jobs are also created, all the time. This turmoil, which leads to what is called structural unemployment, is the unavoidable side-effect of rapid technological change; only an economy that does not innovate can be expected to have no job losses whatsoever.]

Payroll Slump Has Economists Rethinking Ideas on Job Creation
September 8, 2003
[When an economy emerges from a recession, production starts growing rapidly but without rapid growth in jobs; job growth comes later. Rapid growth in productivity makes it possible for production to grow rapidly without rapid growth in jobs.]

Productivity Gains: Never Bad, Even for American Workers
August 21, 2003
[When workers become more productive, fewer workers may be needed in the short run and unemployment may rise. But in the long run, increases in productivity are good for workers in every way: unemployment rates are unaffected and wages rise in step with productivity.]

Jobs for economists: Unemployment forecast
Aug 7th 2003
The Economist
[Even people with PhDs in economics may have trouble finding jobs sometimes.]

Laid-Off Factory Workers Find Jobs Are Drying Up for Good: Not Just the Slowdown, Structural Changes Are Stranding Many With Basic Job Skills
July 21, 2003
[US manual laborers are facing hard times. Factories are using complex, computerized machinery to increase productivity and cut costs; even tractors nowadays have computerized panels. Moreover, manual work can nowadays be done elsewhere for lower wages. In some cases, retraining is the answer (as discussed in the next article). But for older, less-educated workers, retraining for a new career may not be an option.]

Jobless Workers Switch Fields In a Scramble to Find Relief
June 24, 2003 12:44 a.m. EDT
["Stung by layoffs at nearby furniture, apparel and appliance factories, workers are flooding Randolph Community College with applications to enroll in nursing and teaching programs." This is an instance of structural unemployment. When wages in an industry exceed the equilibrium wage--at which the number of job-seekers (supply of labor) equals the number of job vacancies (demand for labor)--there are more job-seekers than job vacancies: hence the layoffs mentioned. In such a situation, workers may have to retrain themselves for another line of work. And until they find new jobs, they are classified as structurally unemployed.]

Blacks Lose Better Jobs Faster as Middle-Class Work Drops
The New York Times,
June 12, 2003
[When the US job market turns sour, blacks tend to get hit harder than whites.]

How to Give Job Seekers a Tastier Carrot
The New York Times,
June 8, 2003
[A smart way to provide unemployment insurance is to give the unemployed the same amount of money no matter how long they stay unemployed.]

Unemployment Rate Rises to a 9-Year High
The New York Times,
June 7, 2003

Jobless and Hopeless, Many Quit the Labor Force
The New York Times,
April 27, 2003
[In bad times, the unemployed may give up looking for work and become "discouraged workers". When this happens, a decline in the official unemployment rate may not represent good news, as Prof. Robert Topel explains in the article.]

THE OUTLOOK: Labor Market May Be Softer Than Official Statistics Show
April 7, 2003 2:29 a.m. EDT
[The way the US Labor Department measures unemployment hides the true extent of the distress caused by a bad job market. Some laid-off workers set themselves up as "independent consultants" and although they may be no better off than unemployed people, they are not counted as unemployed. Some laid-off workers work part time and are not counted as unemployed even though they may be in great distress. Some laid-off workers simply stop looking for work after repeated unsuccessful attempts at getting a job; these "discouraged workers" too are not counted among the unemployed. Therefore, the unemployment rate should be looked at along with other statistics collected by the Labor Department, such as the employment rate, the number of independent consultants, the number of people who say they want a job but aren't actively looking for one, etc.]

Workers Who Feel Discarded
The New York Times,
April 7, 2003
[The pain of unemployment affects society in ways that go beyond economics.]

Jobless Rate Rose to 6% in November; 8-Year High
< nyt_byline type= version=1.0 />By DANIEL ALTMAN
The New York Times,
December 7, 2002
[Tough times.]

Weak Growth Means Few Jobs, and Pain Is Felt Far and Wide
< nyt_byline type= version=1.0 />By DAVID LEONHARDT and DANIEL ALTMAN
The New York Times,
October 13, 2002

Out of a Job and No Longer Looking
< nyt_byline type= version=1.0 />By DAVID LEONHARDT
The New York Times,
September 29, 2002
[This is yet another article that points out that the official US unemployment rate makes things look rosier than what they actually are. "Millions of people, particularly men, have dropped out of the labor force," and are therefore not counted as unemployed, not because they are retired but simply because they've had no luck finding a job. "Since 1990, the number of people receiving disability pay has nearly doubled" as has the number of people in jail. It seems likely that these people are in disability or in jails simply because they couldn't find jobs. And, yet, they are not officially counted as unemployed.]

For Germans, a Recession Is a Pretty Smooth Ride
The New York Times,
September 29, 2002
[Germany, like most European countries, provides very generous help for unemployed people. As a result, there is very little discontent even when unemployment rates reach 20% in some areas. Moreover, the generosity of the German government acts as an "automatic stabilizer": people are able to spend money even when they are unemployed and this keeps the economy chugging even when unemployment is high.]

Long-Term Joblessness Rose by 50%Over the Last Year
< nyt_byline type= version=1.0 />By DAVID LEONHARDT
The New York Times,
September 9, 2002
[It's not enough to just count the unemployed, we need to look at how long has it been since they lost their jobs. The longer one spends in unemployment, the harder it is to get out of unemployment.]

The jobs market: The young and the rested
The Economist
Aug 22, 2002
[One part of the American workforce is hurting badly—teenagers. Teen unemployment has always been relatively high in the US, but in 2002 it was unusually high. Why? Adults, who were facing tough times in the job market, and immigrants were muscling in on service jobs traditionally done by teens. Normally, this influx of workers would lead to a decline in wages that would enable businesses to hire both teens and adults. But minimum wage laws mean that wages cannot fall. So, businesses take the adults and get rid of the teens!]

Italy's Extreme Labor Restrictions
< nyt_byline type= version=1.0 />By ALAN B. KRUEGER
The New York Times,
June 27, 2002
[Italy's labor laws make it extremely difficult for businesses to fire a worker. This may sound nice, until you see the (predictable) consequences: high worker absenteeism, low job creation, high rates of young people living with their parents, etc. Moreover, once such cozy labor laws are in place they are hard to repeal or even modify. Those who currently have jobs-- the "insiders"--benefit at the expense of those who don't--the "outsiders".]

Even as Recovery Builds, Less Educated Fare Worse
The New York Times,
March 7, 2002
[When a recession hits, the first workers to be let go are the less educated: employers tend to "hoard" their better-educated workers. When a recession ends the first workers among the unemployed to be hired are the better-educated ones; only when the recovery becomes especially strong and seemingly permanent do firms hire the less-educated workers. In short, the less-educated are the first to be fired in tough times and the last to be hired in good times.]

Many Ride Out the Recession in a Graduate School Harbor
The New York Times,
January 24, 2002
[The education business is "countercyclical": it does well when the economy is doing badly! This indicates one of the few good things that can be said about a recession: were it not for the recession, workers would not have gone back to school, their skills would not have increased, and the economy would not have gotten more productive.]

Debunking Conventional Wisdom About the Roots of Hate Crime
The New York Times,
December 13, 2001
[Yes, the pain of unemployment affects society in ways that go beyond economics. But hate crime or terrorist attacks cannot be blamed on unemployment.]

An Economic Recovery Will Tell in the Classroom
The New York Times,
December 12, 2001
[The pain of unemployment affects society in ways that go beyond economics. Kids' grades suffer when their parents lose their jobs.]

Unemployment Insurance Needs Overhaul
The New York Times,
October 18, 2001
[This is a valuable discussion of the pros and cons of the US unemployment insurance system and of the ways in which it could be improved.]

Out of Work, and Out of the Benefits Loop
The New York Times,
October 17, 2001
[The US unemployment insurance system is among the least generous in the developed world. Unemployed workers face numerous restrictions and only about 39% of them qualify for unemployment benefits. And those who qualify get, on average, $230 a week for 26 weeks.]

Europe's scrap-heap The Economist, August 16, 2001. [Two puzzles about European unemployment: why, on average, is it so uncomfortably high, and why have individual economies' rates diverged?]

Heart Disease Is Often More Deadly Paired With Job Trouble, Study Says Associated Press, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, June 21, 2001. [Men who live in regions with high unemployment and low-paying jobs are more likely to die from heart disease than those in other parts of the country.]

Japan Suicide Rate Surges in 1998 By The Associated Press, The New York Times, July 2, 1999. [The pain of unemployment affects society in ways that go beyond economics: suicide rates can rise.]

Lifetime Job Prospects By Robert J. Samuelson, The Washington Post, June 23, 1999. [Not only can the unemployment rate can change from quarter to quarter--as the business cycle works itself out--but its average value over longer periods of time can also change. That is, the so-called natural rate of unemployment is not immutable; changes in policies, and more fundamental features of a society can push it up or down.]

Korean Money Woes Break Up Families By The Associated Press, The New York Times, January 9, 1999. [The pain of unemployment affects society in ways that go beyond economics: marriages fall apart, children are abandoned in orphanages.]

Legacy of the '90s Boom: More Jobs for Black Men By SYLVIA NASAR, The New York Times, December 13, 1998. [The ups and downs of the economy affects different demographic groups in different ways. The '90s jobs boom was unusual in that it actually helped black men.]

Jump in November Sent Work Force to a Record High By SYLVIA NASAR, The New York Times, December 5, 1998. [This article highlights the tremendous amount of "creative destruction" that goes on in the US economy: lots of jobs lost, lots of new jobs created, all the time.]

Jobless Rate Falls to 4.3 Percent, Lowest in Decades By SYLVIA NASAR, The New York Times, May 9, 1998. [The good times!]

In Germany, the Economy Grows While Jobs Stagnate By EDMUND L. ANDREWS, The New York Times, March 21, 1998. [Production is growing rapidly in Germany, but not jobs. How is this possible? "High labor costs -- fringe benefits, plentiful holidays, rigid work rules -- and high payroll taxes discourage companies from adding permanent workers." The fringe benefits, holidays, and protective work rules are great for those who already have jobs (the "insiders") but bad for those who have no jobs (the "outsiders"). The insiders rig the rules--through their unions that can threaten to go on strike if their demands are not met--so that they can live it up at the expense of the outsiders.]

The Fed Should Keep Its Head By ROBERT EISNER, The New York Times, September 19, 1996. [The central bank of a country can use a whole range of policies to provide a short-run boost to the economy. This "monetary stimulus" leads to higher output and lower unemployment--two very, very nice things. But if the unemployment rate is pushed down even below the long-run average level--called the natural rate of unemployment or the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment (NAIRU)--the monetary stimulus might lead to unstoppable inflation, which is not a very nice thing. This fear tends to make central banks cautious about using monetary stimulus. The author argues, however, that the NAIRU is not immutable. If we are certain that the NAIRU is 6%, we should not push unemployment below 6%. But how can we be certain? Maybe the NAIRU has gone down to 5%, in which case it would be a good idea to push unemployment down to, say, 5.4%. The point is that central banks should not be too scared of the NAIRU; they should experiment a bit, keeping in mind that the NAIRU can change.]

OBSERVER: What A Dunce, By RUSSELL BAKER, The New York Times, August 6, 1996. [A humorist's brilliant take-down of the NAIRU hypothesis (see above). The central bank uses its policy tools to keep the unemployment rate above the NAIRU in the belief that there would be rampant inflation if the unemployment rate is too low. And yet, the government is using other policies to punish people who are not working in order to compel them to seek work. So, one branch of the government is pushing people to find jobs while another branch of the same government is destroying jobs to keep unemployment from falling!]


Maintained by Udayan Roy for use by students as supplementary material.