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Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment

David M. Lilien
Journal of Political Economy
Vol. 90, No. 4 (Aug., 1982), pp. 777-793
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1831352
Page Count: 17
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Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment
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Abstract

A substantial fraction of cyclical unemployment is better characterized as fluctuations of the "frictional" or "natural" rate than as deviations from some relatively stable natural rate. Shifts of employment demand between sectors of the economy necessitate continuous labor reallocation. Since it takes time for workers to find new jobs, some unemployment is unavoidable. This paper presents evidence that most of the unemployment fluctuations of the seventies (unlike those in the sixties) were induced by unusual structural shifts within the U.S. economy. Simple time-series models of layoffs and unemployment are constructed that include a measure of structural shifts within the labor market. These models are estimated and a derived natural rate series is constructed.

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