Employment comovements at the sectoral level over the business cycle



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This paper implements the technique suggested by Den Haan (J Monet Econ 46:3–30, 2000) to investigate contemporaneous as well as lead and lag correlations among economic data for a range of forecast horizons. The lead/lag approach provides a richer picture of the economic dynamics generating the data and allows one to investigate which variables lead or lag others, and whether the lead or lag pattern is short term or long term in nature. This technique is applied to monthly sectoral level employment data for the USA and shows that among the ten industrial sectors followed by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, six tend to lead the other four. These six have high correlations indicating that the structural shocks generating the data movements are mostly in common. Among the four lagging industries, some lag by longer intervals than others and some have low correlations with the leading industries. These low correlations may indicate that these industries are partially influenced by structural shocks beyond those generating the six leading industries, but they also may indicate that lagging sectors feature a different transmission mechanism of shocks.



Business cycle, Sectoral employment comovement, Leading and lagging sectors, Forecast errors