Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Julio Garin

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Since 1990, the U.S. has experienced recessions characterized by a slow growing labor market and the increasing polarization of jobs. Over the past few decades, there has been an immense hollowing out of middle-skill routine occupations, exacerbating joblessness and adding to the growing literature of the emergence of jobless recoveries in light of job polarization. This paper extends on previous research with more granularity by aggregating state-level variations in job polarization and its effects on the percent of population employed over the course of 2000-2019. Referencing methods of occupational classifications by Acemoglu and Autor (2011), I first disaggregate total employment in each state by category and measure the severity of job polarization. From here, I use the derived percent change in the share of routine jobs, or middle-skill jobs, to estimate the impact on percent of population employed and how it has changed with a decrease in middle-skill jobs, or job polarization. I use a fixed-effects model to capture the effects of job polarization on employment levels in recession and non-recession years. My findings show that job polarization has an insignificant effect on percent of population employed in aggregate, but, in line with previous literature, has a negative impact on employment levels particularly during recession years.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.