Unemployment after the Great Recession: Why so High? What Can We Do?


Estudios de Economía Aplicada, 30(1). 2012.

The surprising increase in U.S. unemployment in the Great Recession and the persistence of long-term unemployment in the economic recovery pose important questions for employment policy. Why did unemployment grow more than forecast? Is the character of long-term unemployment the result of cyclical or structural causes? I discuss eight policy changes that would reduce the ranks of the unemployed and that would improve the efficiency of the labor market. Most of these proposals do not add big-ticket items to the Federal budget; their merits are independent of the question of how large the federal deficit should be at this time.