The Labor Market in the Great Recession


Michael Elsby

Bart Hobijn

Aysegül Sahin

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2010-07 | March 1, 2010

This paper documents the adjustment of the labor market during the recession, and places it in the broader context of previous postwar downturns. What emerges is a picture of labor market dynamics with three key recurring themes: 1. From the perspective of a wide range of labor market outcomes, the 2007 recession represents the deepest downturn in the labor market in the postwar era. 2. Until recently, the nature of labor market adjustment in the current recession has displayed a notable resemblance to that observed in past severe downturns. 3. During the latter half of 2009, however, the path of adjustment has exhibited important departures from that seen in prior deep recessions.

Article Citation

Sahin, Aysegül, Bart Hobijn, and Michael Elsby. 2010. “The Labor Market in the Great Recession,” Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Working Paper 2010-07. Available at