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Abstract:

cover
CEP Occasional Paper
The UK Labour Market and the 2008 - 2009 Recession
Paul Gregg and Jonathan Wadsworth
June 2010
Paper No' CEPOP25:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: J0;J2;J3;J6


Tags: labour market; recession; unemployment; wages

The recession of 2008-2009 inflicted a larger cumulative loss of UK output than any of the other post-war recessions. Nevertheless, employment rates remained higher than might have been expected given the experience of previous recessions. The main reasons for this appear to be a combination of high firm profitability levels going into the recession, supportive monetary and fiscal policies during the recession, reductions in real producer wages and relatively buoyant real consumer wages. Unemployment had reached its lowest levels for thirty years going in to the latest recession and has also remained relatively subdued through the downturn, certainly compared to previous recessions. A combination of lower inflow rates into unemployment, allied with a relatively higher outflow rate into employment, underlie this. As government support for the economy is scaled back and productivity growth remains low, it may be that it will take a long time for employment to return to levels last seen before the recession.