Volatility isn’t rising

So says the excellent David Leonhardt.  Excerpt:

“There have always been a lot of mass layoffs,” said Lawrence F. Katz, a labor economist at Harvard. “We didn’t count them before.”  In fact, research by Henry S. Farber, an economist at Princeton, has found that job loss rates have followed a cyclical pattern since the early 80s, peaking around the same highs during recessions and falling to similar lows during expansions. (The rate has risen for workers who went to college and fallen a bit who those who didn’t.)

Americans, looking at their own jobs, realize that there hasn’t been a big change: in a recent Gallup Poll, 12 percent of respondents said it was very or fairly likely they would be laid off in the coming year. In the 1970s, 80s and 90s, at similar points in the business cycle, the percentage was virtually identical.

Read the whole thing; Leonhardt agrees with my view that the recent CBO report effectively counters Jacob Hacker on "the great risk shift."  Until we see further evidence to the contrary, that thesis belongs in the "simply isn’t true" pile.


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