Grown-Up Business Cycles
Revised: September 2015
JEL classification: E32, J00, L25, L26
We document two striking facts about U.S. firm dynamics and interpret their significance for employment dynamics. The first is the dramatic decline in firm entry and the second is the gradual shift of employment toward older firms since 1980. We show that despite these trends, the lifecycle dynamics of firms and their business cycle properties have remained virtually unchanged. Consequently, aging is the delayed effect of accumulating startup deficits. Together, the decline in the employment contribution of startups and the shift of employment toward more mature firms contributed to the emergence of jobless recoveries in the U.S. economy.