Working Papers

The Rising Strength of Management, High Unemployment and Slow Growth

Revisiting Okun's Law


Why is economic growth so slow and why are we having jobless recoveries? I address these questions here by revisiting Okun’s Law, focusing not just on its cyclical component but also upon its implied estimates of trend growth. Some observers argue that the rising strength of management (falling strength of labor) since the 1980s has led to a more volatile labor market and therefore to the decay of Okun’s Law. Using cross-state data since 1964 I examine whether Okun’s Law has changed in response to the decline of unionism. I find that the cyclical component of Okun’s Law does not need revision and that the trend growth component has declined moderately.