What We Know About Wage Adjustment During the 2007-09 Recession and Its Aftermath
Economic Quarterly, 2015, issue 3Q, 225-244
Aggregate wage growth has remained flat during the 2007-09 recession and its aftermath while unemployment has exhibited substantial swings. Does the low real aggregate wage growth during the recovery indicate a weak labor market beyond what is measured by the official unemployment rate? Aggregate wage growth reflects actual changes of workers' wages, changes in the composition of workers, and changes in the composition of jobs. Some of these changes are related to underlying structural trends in the economy while others constitute the economy's response to the business cycle shocks and are more indicative of cyclical resource utilization in the labor market. Consequently, it is important to look beyond the aggregate statistics to understand the behavior of real wages and its relation to the health of the labor market. In this article, we review recent literature that studies the changes in the components of the aggregate wage over time and, specifically, after the 2007-09 recession.
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