Three-and-A-Half Million U.S. Employees Have Been Mislaid: Or, an Explanation of Unemployment, 1934-1941

24 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2002  

Michael R. Darby

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Global Economics and Management (GEM) Area; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: May 1975

Abstract

A major conceptual error in the standard BLS and Lebergott unemployment estimates for 1933-1943 is reported. Emergency workers (employees of federal contracyclical programs such as WPA) were counted as unemployed on a normal-jobs-to-be-created instead of job-seekers unemployment definition. For 1934-1941, the corrected unemployment levels are reduced by two to three-and-a half million people and the rates by 4 to 7 percentage points. The corrected data show strong movement toward the natural unemployment rate after 1933 and are very well explained by an anticipations-search model using annual full-time earnings.

Suggested Citation

Darby, Michael R., Three-and-A-Half Million U.S. Employees Have Been Mislaid: Or, an Explanation of Unemployment, 1934-1941 (May 1975). NBER Working Paper No. w0088. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=259399

Michael R. Darby (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Global Economics and Management (GEM) Area ( email )

110 Westwood Plaza
Box 951481
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United States
310-825-4180 (Phone)
310-454-2748 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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