Lifecycle Events and Their Consequences: Job Loss, Family Change, and Declines in Health

By Kenneth A. Couch; Mary C. Daly et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
Job Loss
A Discussion

Michael D. Hurd

The common theme of these chapters is their discussion of the effects of unemployment, particularly that caused by labor-force displacement in times of recession. Henry Farber uses data from the Displaced Workers Survey to examine the record of job losses over time, suggesting that the recent Great Recession resulted in a higher rate of job loss than any other period in the past 30 years. Till von Wachter, Jae Song, and Joyce Manchester examine how jobless spells in one recession may lead to other subsequent spells of reduced hours. Ariel Kalil and Thomas DeLeire use cross-sectional and longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study to assess how involuntary job transitions can subsequently affect subjective well-being, even years after the displacement. Ann H. Stevens and Jeremy G. Moulton explore how late-life job loss, the period in which many workers are most likely to accumulate assets for retirement, can subsequently affect wealth.

All of these essays are timely because of the recent recession. However, the Great Recession is unlike other recessions in that it led not to just an increase in unemployment but it also affected the housing and stock markets. Thus, the consequences of unemployment in prior recessions may not provide good predictions of the consequences from unemployment in the Great Recession.

The 1981–82 recession saw the civilian unemployment rate increase by about 3.5 percentage points, and the value of the stock market decrease by about 15 percent, but housing prices during that recession held stable or decreased only slightly. The 1990–91 recession saw the civilian unemployment rate increase by about 2 percentage points, but housing

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