Job polarisation and the decline of middle-class workers’ wages

Michael Boehm 08 February 2014

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The decline of the middle class has come to the forefront of debate in the US and Europe in recent years. This decline has two important components in the labour market. First, the number of well-paid middle-skill jobs in manufacturing and clerical occupations has decreased substantially since the mid-1980s. Second, the relative earnings for workers around the median of the wage distribution dropped over the same period, leaving them with hardly any real wage gains in nearly 30 years.

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Topics:  Labour markets Poverty and income inequality

Tags:  jobs, middle class, labour, routine and non-routine tasks

Why don’t African firms create more jobs?

Leonardo Iacovone, Vijaya Ramachandran 07 February 2014

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There is an urgent need for job creation in Africa. Many economies on the continent suffer high rates of under-employment and/or low-productivity employment. In addition, because of demographic factors, many countries anticipate that large numbers of youth will enter the workforce in the near future. This may be beneficial to economic growth but also a potential threat to social stability.

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Topics:  Development Labour markets

Tags:  Africa, firms, jobs

Social job-search networks and the transition from school to stable employment

Francis Kramarz, Oskar Nordström Skans 17 October 2013

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The challenges faced by young workers transitioning from school into stable employment are a major concern throughout the OECD. The search for stable employment is a time-consuming process, particularly in countries without highly developed apprenticeship systems. Many young workers – especially the least educated – are caught struggling for years.

Considering the importance of this process we know surprisingly little about the strategies used by young job searchers looking for entry jobs. Two key insights arise from the large body of research on job-finding networks:

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Topics:  Labour markets

Tags:  unemployment, jobs, youth unemployment, graduates

Moving towards a single contract? Pros, cons and mixed feelings

Nicolas Lepage-Saucier, Juliette Schleich, Étienne Wasmer 29 July 2013

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Dualism – the division of the labour market between highly paid primary workers in stable jobs and secondary workers in low paying precarious positions – has remained at the forefront of public debates in Europe, where it is pervasive. Between 1985 and 2008, European countries (with the exception of Denmark) experienced an increase in the share of temporary contracts (12% on average in OECD countries): it was particularly high in Spain (24.9% in 2010, from Eurostat) and in the Netherlands (18.5% in 2010, from Eurostat).

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Topics:  Labour markets

Tags:  jobs, layoffs, precarious employment

Short-time work: Does it save jobs?

Almut Balleer, Britta Gehrke, Wolfgang Lechthaler, Christian Merkl 12 July 2013

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Short-time work means that the government subsidises the reduction of the working time of an employee to prevent firing. Many countries allow a firm to use this instrument when the demand for its products is lower than its production potential. Since more firms face a shortfall of demand in recessions, there is a rule-based component of short-time work. This is similar to the income-tax system where the tax bill drops automatically with lower income (without modifying the tax code). In addition, policymakers facilitate the access to short-time work in recessions.

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Topics:  Europe's nations and regions Labour markets

Tags:  Germany, jobs, Eurozone crisis, short-time work

Policy-related uncertainty: At the root of the lost resilience of Eurozone labour markets?

Alfonso Arpaia, Alessandro Turrini 02 March 2013

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The Eurozone, in contrast to the US, exhibited remarkable labour market resilience in the aftermath of the Lehman shock that lead to the Great Recession. Conversely, as the debt crisis developed, labour markets in the Eurozone weakened and unemployment started growing above what was predicted on the basis of GDP growth (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Unemployment changes, actual and predicted on the basis of the Okun law, Eurozone

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Topics:  Europe's nations and regions Labour markets

Tags:  jobs, Eurozone crisis

The next productivity revolution: The ‘industrial internet’

Marco Annunziata 07 December 2012

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The largest advanced economies are struggling with weak growth prospects and daunting fiscal challenges. Looking at the macroeconomic equation, there is no easy way out. Looking at the microeconomic level, however, suggests that it is innovation that might come to the rescue.

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Topics:  Frontiers of economic research

Tags:  global crisis, internet, jobs, industrial internet

Jobless recoveries and the disappearance of routine occupations

Henry Siu, Nir Jaimovich 06 November 2012

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Economic recoveries aren’t what they used to be. Since the end of the Great Recession in June 2009:

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Topics:  Global crisis Labour markets Poverty and income inequality

Tags:  unemployment, Great Depression, jobs, Great Recession, labour

Youth unemployment in Europe: More complicated than it looks

Jacob Funk Kirkegaard 13 October 2012

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Hardly a day goes by without a reminder of youth unemployment rates in excess of 50% in Greece, Spain, Italy, and other parts of the European periphery. Sometimes the reminders are in the form of rants by economists or pundits about the moral deficiency of EZ demands for austerity and the risks of a lost generation of young people. The challenge for Europe’s youth is stark, and demands for government action are long overdue, especially in liberalising the insider biases that make it hard for outsiders to get jobs.

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Topics:  Labour markets Macroeconomic policy Poverty and income inequality

Tags:  US, Europe, jobs, youth unemployment

Confronting the jobs crisis under tight fiscal constraints

Benedict Clements, Ruud de Mooij, Gerd Schwartz 09 September 2012

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The economic and social consequences of job losses since the onset of the global crisis have been enormous, as Ben Bernanke recently pointed out (Bernanke 2012). Unemployment rates have soared to an average of 11% in the Eurozone in mid-2012, and youth unemployment has reached alarming levels in many places, exceeding 50% in Greece and Spain.

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Topics:  Macroeconomic policy

Tags:  employment, fiscal policy, jobs, austerity

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