1887

OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

Labour market resilience

The role of structural and macroeconomic policies

This paper provides an overview of labour market resilience in the wake of the Great Recession of 2008-09 and the role played by macroeconomic and structural policies. The OECD unemployment rate has returned to close to its pre-crisis level, but the unemployment cost of the Great Recession has nonetheless been very large and long-lasting in many countries. Moreover, as the recovery in output has been weak relative to the recovery in employment, labour productivity and wage growth remain low. Labour market resilience depends crucially on macroeconomic and labour market policy settings. Macroeconomic policies are highly effective in limiting employment declines during economic downturns and preventing that cyclical increases in unemployment become structural. Spending on active labour market policies needs to respond strongly to cyclical increases in unemployment to promote a quick return to work in the recovery and preserve the mutual-obligations ethos of activation regimes. Overly strict employment protection for regular workers reduces resilience by promoting the use of temporary contracts and slowing job creation in the recovery. Co-ordinated collective bargaining systems can promote resilience by facilitating wage and working-time adjustments.

English

Keywords: resilience, labour market policy, fiscal policy
JEL: J6: Labor and Demographic Economics / Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers; E6: Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics / Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook; J3: Labor and Demographic Economics / Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
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