My thesis is that unemployment is more persistent when the layoffs come from structural change rather than from excess inventories. With excess inventories, once the excess has been absorbed you can go back to work at your exact same job. On the other hand, when firms and industries permanently shrink, you have to find a new job, and possibly even an entirely new occupation. It is rare for people to have the capacity to do that, and it takes quite a bit of time when they do.
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2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan