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Oil Price Shocks and Labor Market Fluctuations

Abstract:
We examine the impact of real oil price shocks on labor market flows in the U.S. We first use smooth transition regression (STAR) models to investigate to what extent oil prices can be considered as a driving force of labor market fluctuations. Then we develop and calibrate a modified version of Pissarides' (2000) model with energy costs, which we simulate in response to shocks mimicking the behavior of the actual oil price shocks. We find that (i) these shocks are an important driving force of job market flows; (ii) the job finding probability is the main transmission mechanism of such shocks; and (iii) they bring a new amplification mechanism for the volatility of the labor market, and should thus be seen as complementary of labor productivity shocks. Overall we conclude that shocks in oil prices cannot be neglected in explaining cyclical labor adjustments in the U.S.

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Energy Specializations: Petroleum – Markets and Prices for Crude Oil and Products; Petroleum – Policy and Regulation; Energy and the Economy – Energy as a Productive Input; Energy and the Economy –Economic Growth and Energy Demand; Energy and the Economy – Resource Endowments and Economic Performance; Energy and the Economy – Energy Shocks and Business Cycles

JEL Codes:
L13 - Oligopoly and Other Imperfect Markets
E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General
O13 - Economic Development: Agriculture; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Other Primary Products
Q34 - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts
F44 - International Business Cycles

Keywords: Oil Prices, Unemployment, Labor market vacancies, Business Fluctuations

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol32-No3-4


Published in Volume 32, Number 3 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.