Economics Working Paper 19103
Abstract: We track the path that a worker follows after losing a job. Initially, the typical job-loser spends some time out of the labor force and in job search. Only a month or two later, in normal times, the worker lands a job. But the job is frequently brief. Over the next few months, the worker finds a good match that becomes a long-term job. Short-term jobs tend to precede long-term ones. Shortterm employment shares some of the characteristics of unemployment and some of the characteristics of employment. We show that this pattern of moving among working, searching for a job, and being out of the labor force is concentrated in a segment of the working-age population. In other segments, individuals are insulated from disturbances to their activities in the labor market. Some work continuously while others are always out of the labor market. We develop a model that incorporates heterogeneity across and within these segments.