Economic Turbulence: A Look at Change in the American Economy

May 20, 2008


Dr. Julia Lane
Senior Vice President and
Director of Economics, Labor and Population Studies
University of Chicago, National
Opinion Research Center

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Job security is a primary concern to workers in any economy - the prospect of job loss creates anxiety precisely because real economic hardship can result. But at the same time, moving from an old job to a new one can mean higher wages because of increased productivity and innovation, benefiting not only the worker but the economy at large.

This dynamic is particularly true in the United States, which is characterized by an extremely fluid and turbulent economy. Jobs are constantly shuffled from one firm to another as firms emerge and disappear.  The popular press highlights the concerns that this turbulence creates, but what do the facts show?

Dr. Julia Lane, from the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center, will share some of her research and experience using large scale datasets in analyzing our volatile economy. By focusing on specific industry sectors, the number of jobs in the economy, and the effects of market turbulence on worker's wages and career paths, Dr. Lane analyzes the complex nature of the economy and labor markets. Join the Mercatus Center as we examine this issue and address questions such as: 

  • How much job creation, destruction and turnover exist in the economy at any given point? What is the relationship between turbulence and economic growth?

  • What contributes to firm decline or survival? Which areas of the economy are growing and which are diminishing? 

  • How do these changes affect workers' career paths, job ladders, wages and job quality? Are the 'good' jobs disappearing?