When it comes to long-term labor force leavers, how structural is structural?

September 11th, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Co-authored with Harry Holzer, over at PostEverything. The ideas here links to the concept of reverse hysteresis, the notion that tight job markets, and, in this piece, smart sectoral and earn-while-you-learn policies, can help bring some who’ve left the labor market back in.

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5 comments in reply to "When it comes to long-term labor force leavers, how structural is structural?"

  1. Carl says:

    If there is such thing as ‘reverse hysteresis’ in this economy, I would like a recipe for ‘reverse bitterness’.

    I left the regular FT job market just under a year ago (on the day of the federal government shutdown, to be specific), and after too much wasted time in job interviews over a 6-7 month period (where companies ran all candidates through the wringers (multiple interviews, work samples, tests, etc and the HIRED NO ONE), I started doing small projects on my own. (Keeping in touch with former colleagues, actively meeting new people, and doing small projects has helped me stay abreast of things, as well.)

    Things have picked up to the point where I get calls and emails from people in my field about positions, but, honestly, I am so embittered by what I’ve been through that I wonder if these places are hiring or just window shopping like everyone over the winter and spring was. The only thing that makes me have any trust in the sincerity of companies actually filling the position (and not wasting my time) is the varying level of trust and respect I have for the particular hiring managers or colleagues of hiring managers who are reaching out to me.

    So, yeah. I need some ‘reverse bitterness’, because this economy has kicked me hard…to the point where I would almost rather just make less money and not be jerked around as much.


  2. smith says:

    A one time drop of 3% in the labor force can’t reduce annual year over year gdp growth by 1%. Think about if it happened in one day. 3% leave, GDP drops 3%, remains about flat that year as GDP normally grows 2.5 to 3%. Thereafter it resumes normal growth of around 3%. The 3% extra non-working doesn’t create havoc or inefficiencies to debilitate the rest of the economy. We have a functioning economy right now with 2% extra officially unemployed above normal low (full employment) unemployment of 4% (it’s around 6%) and probably at least a few more percent underemployed or not actively looking.

    Also, less work and lower GDP is fine, though Krugman worries about investment expenditures lagging. Don’t think he’s really thought that through.


  3. Fred Donaldson says:

    A relative recently applied for a police officer job in a California town. He is a retired (22 years service) Navy officer with experience in community service, recruiting, etc. He ended up in the top 17 candidates, but missed getting the single job offered.

    There were 972 applicants for that job, and 971 were disappointed. It paid $32k.

    Is it time to stop blaming qualifications, when there are not enough decent jobs of any sort left in this country?


    • Carl says:

      Yeah, that is pretty brutal.

      On the bright side, at least they hired someone.

      Lots of places would put those 17 through multi stage interviews, and then re-post the position, accept another 500-1000 applications on line, put another 10-15 through interviews… rinse, repeat, etc.


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