The Public Interest

The Europeanization of the U.S. labor market

David R. Henderson

Fall 1993

IN NOVEMBER 1982, the United States was at the bottom of a severe recession in which the unemployment rate hit 10.6 percent. Although 101 million people were working, 11 million were looking for work. By the end of the 1980s, 119 million were working and the number of unemployed people had fallen to 7 million. Even as the U.S.  labor force had grown by 14 million people, the U.S. economy had created 18 million jobs. Civilian employment as a percentage of the working-age population reached an all-time high in 1989. The U.S. economy in the 1980s was a virtual job machine. 

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