Publication Date



Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 10-161




This paper examines labor market conditions and public employment policies in the United States during what some are calling the Great Recession. We document the dramatic labor market changes that rapidly unfolded when the rate of gross domestic product growth turned negative, from the end of 2007 through early 2009. The paper reviews the resulting stress on labor market support programs and the broad federal response. That response came through modifications to existing programs and the introduction of new mechanisms to help Americans cope with job loss and protracted unemployment. The particular focus is on federally supported public programs for occupational job skills training and temporary income replacement. We also discuss procedures for evaluating the effectiveness of public reemployment efforts, and adjustments to these programs that were adopted during the crisis.

Issue Date

November 2009


Paper prepared for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum on Human Resources Development (HRD) 2009, titled 'Implementing Public TEVT Programmes in the Midst of the Financial Crisis: HRD Policies in Collaboration with Employment Security,' held at the offices of the Overseas Vocational Training Association (OVTA), November 18-20, 2009, Chiba City, Japan.

Subject Areas

LABOR MARKET ISSUES; Job security and unemployment dynamics; UNEMPLOYMENT, DISABILITY, and INCOME SUPPORT PROGRAMS; Unemployment insurance; WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT; Labor exchange; On the job training; Employer provided training; Incumbent worker training


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O'Leary, Christopher J. and Randall W. Eberts. 2009. "Employment and Training Policy in the United States during the Economic Crisis." Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 10-161. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.