Labor Market Outcomes across States Are Informative about the State of the Business Cycle
In analysis on Liberty Street Economics, economists Crump, Giannone, and Lucca employ threshold-based recession dating, arguing that a rising share of states surpassing state-specific unemployment thresholds signals a turning point in the aggregate economy. The top panel in the interactive chart below shows the share of states in contraction based on a threshold rule applied to current and real-time data on state unemployment rates. In plotting the evolution of this measure against NBER-dated recessions, we see the share is very informative about onsets of downturns. Based on data available through November 2019 (released in January 2020), this measure—at a 10 percent share—is at low levels.
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics; authors’ calculations.

Notes: The top panel shows the percentage of series in which the state unemployment rate has surpassed the estimated threshold. The gold line shows the percentage of series in contraction using real-time data and model estimates. The bottom panel shows the periods for which each state is judged to be in expansion (white) or contraction (red) based on the threshold model. Gray-shaded regions indicate periods designated as in recession by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

See also business cycle dating charts using a large set of macroeconomic variables and industry payroll data.