Posts filed under “Employment”
By John Robertson and Ellyn Terry
A recent Wall Street Journal blog post caught our attention. In particular, the following claim:
It’s not size that matters—at least when it comes to job creation. The age of the company is a bigger factor.
The following chart shows the average job-creation rate of expanding firms and the average job-destruction rates of shrinking firms from 1987 to 2011, broken out by various age and size categories:
In the chart, the colors represent age categories, and the sizes of the dot represent size categories. So, for example, the biggest blue dot in the far northeast quadrant shows the average rate of job creation and destruction for firms that are very young and very large. The tiny blue dot in the far east region of the chart represents the average rate of job creation and destruction for firms that are very young and very small. If an age-size dot is above the 45-degree line, then average net job creation of that firm size-age combination is positive—that is, more jobs are created than destroyed at those firms. (Note that the chart excludes firms less than one year old because, by definition in the data, they can have only job creation.)
The chart shows two things. First, the rate of job creation and destruction tends to decline with firm age. Younger firms of all sizes tend to have higher job-creation (and job-destruction) rates than their older counterparts. That is, the blue dots tend to lie above the green dots, and the green dots tend to be above the orange dots.
The second feature is that the rate of job creation at larger firms of all ages tends to exceed the rate of job destruction, whereas small firms tend to destroy more jobs than they create, on net. That is, the larger dots tend to lie above the 45-degree line, but the smaller dots are below the 45-degree line.
As pointed out in the WSJ blog post and by others (see, for example, work by the Kauffman Foundation here and here), once you control for firm size, firm age is the more important factor when measuring the rate of job creation. However, young firms are more dynamic in general, with rapid net growth balanced against a very high failure rate. (See this paper by John Haltiwanger for more on this up-or-out dynamic.) Apart from new firms, it seems that the combination of youth (between one and ten years old) and size (more than 250 employees) has tended to yield the highest rate of net job creation.
The Long and Short of It: The Impact of Unemployment Duration on Compensation Growth M. Henry Linder, Richard Peach, and Robert Rich Liberty Street Economics, February 12, 2014 How tight is the labor market? The unemployment rate is down substantially from its October 2009 peak, but two-thirds of the decline is due to…Read More
Regular readers may recall that I’m not a big fan of this Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation data series, as it is unusually noisy and subject to further revisions and modeling adjustments. (See Ignore Today’s — and Most — Jobs Reports). As we discussed not too long ago, the Employment Situation report is “the…Read More
Human Capital and Unemployment Dynamics: Why More Educated Workers Enjoy Greater Employment Stability
A Mis-Leading Labor Market Indicator Samuel Kapon and Joseph Tracy Liberty Street Economics, February 03, 2014 The unemployment rate is a popular measure of the condition of the labor market. With the Great Recession, the unemployment rate increased from a low of 4.4 percent in March 2007 to a peak of 10.0 percent in October 2009….Read More
Employee Compensation Costs During the Recovery Joel Elvery The Federal Reserve’s two mandates—to keep inflation under control and to promote employment growth—overlap when it comes to employee compensation. Inflation typically leads to increases in nominal compensation, and firms increase prices in response, creating a feedback loop that pushes inflation higher. Compensation also rises when labor…Read More