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The Jobless Recovery After the 1980-1981 UK Recession

Meredith M. Paker

No _182, Oxford Economic and Social History Working Papers from University of Oxford, Department of Economics

Abstract: The brief recession from 1980–1981 in the UK led to a prolonged employment downturn, with the unemployment rate continuing to increase through 1984. A large literature has developed around the concept of jobless recoveries and their possible causes, focused primarily on the US from the 1990s. This paper argues that the employment recovery from the 1980–1981 recession in the UK can be considered an early example of a jobless recovery. Then, taking the US as a comparison case, possible causes of this jobless recovery are evaluated. Labor reallocation across industries, regional effects, and job polarization are considered in depth for the UK. Industry labor reallocation emerges as the major difference between the UK and the US during the early 1980s recession and recovery period, suggesting this was the key factor driving the UK’s jobless recovery.

Keywords: jobless recovery; industry labor reallocation; structural change; job polarization (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N14 N34 J64 J21 E24 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-08-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his, nep-lab and nep-mac
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