University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Labor Force Transitions, Employment, and Occupational and Earnings Attainment

This paper presents an analysis of changes in occupational status and hourly earnings after workers experience a spell of nonemployment, during a period of stable but slow economic growth and a recessionary period. In addition, an effort is made to identify factors associated with changes in occupational status and hourly earnings, including a possible link between changes in these outcome measures. The results indicate only small net differences between the occupational status and hourly earnings of workers observed before and after a period of nonemployment once the characteristics of workers are controlled. Overall, the greatest differences in outcome measures were observed between the 2004 through 2007 and the 2008 through 2011 periods. Workers during the latter period experienced substantial declines in occupational status and hourly earnings, most likely a consequence of the economic upheaval associated with the Great Recession.

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Employment, Labor Market, Low-Wage Work, Unemployment/Nonemployment

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