Mary Zenker |

Research Analyst


Mary Zenker, Research Analyst

Mary Zenker is a research analyst in the Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. Her primary interests are labor markets, regional issues, and applied econometrics.

Ms. Zenker joined the Bank in 2010. Prior to joining the Bank, she worked on national, state and local employment statistics for the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington, D.C. A native Clevelander, she earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Notre Dame and her master’s degree in applied economics from the Johns Hopkins University.

  • Fed Publications
Title Date Publication Author(s) Type

 

2011-26 Mary Zenker; Dionissi Aliprantis; Economic Commentary
Abstract: Although the U.S. poverty rate was the same in 2000 as it was in 1970, the geographic distribution of the poor has become more concentrated. A higher concentration of poor in poor neighborhoods is a concern because it may mean the poor are exposed to fewer opportunities that affect their outcomes in life, like employment and income. We show where and how poverty has become more concentrated in the United States, and who is most likely to be affected. Online appendix.

top

 

2011-25 Mary Zenker; Thomas J Fitzpatrick; Economic Commentary
Abstract: The fall in property values associated with the recent recession has caused a decline in property taxes which may be amplifying local government budget crises across the country. Cuyahoga County is set to reappraise property values in 2012, and when it does it may only then absorb the full force of the housing market losses caused by the recession. We estimate the potential losses in property values and the county’s tax base and find that the impact could be significant.

top

 

November, 2011 Vol. 2, No. 3 Mary Zenker; Forefront
Abstract: Growing numbers of college graduates are finding themselves with jobs that don’t actually require a higher education.

top

 

November, 2011 Mary Zenker; Murat Tasci; Economic Trends
Abstract: With the extended unemployment benefits provided by the federal government in the wake of the recession and the extended benefits from individual states, unemployed workers can potentially receive up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. We provide some context for interpreting these extended benefits on the unemployment rate.

top

 

September, 2011 Mary Zenker; Dionissi Aliprantis; Economic Trends
Abstract: Most people are aware that more education is typically associated with higher wages. In recent decades, that so-called wage premium has gotten even larger. Over the same time period, the share of men in the labor force has declined and their rates of unemployment have risen, especially in neighborhoods where the residents have obtained less education.

top

 

August, 2011 Mary Zenker; Murat Tasci; Economic Trends
Abstract: July’s employment report was welcome news, especially after the slowdowns in payroll growth that had occurred over the previous two months. Overall, the labor market has been adjusting very slowly during this recovery. Six months after the economy had started growing again, we were still losing jobs. In other words, employment, as measured through payroll survey, had experienced its largest decline (more than 6 percent) two years after the recession started. More troubling still is the slow pace at which employment is returning to normal. However, there is a hint of good news.

top

 

July, 2011 Mary Zenker; Stephan Whitaker; Economic Trends
Abstract: The current recovery’s failure to produce robust job growth has focused attention on workers who are temporarily getting by in positions that are not good matches. A frequently discussed, but less measured mismatch is those who hold a college degree but must take a job that does not require their degree because they cannot find employment in their field. We hear anecdotes of recent college graduates serving coffee and stocking shelves. We examine data that could reflect the "mismatch trend."

top

 

2011-11 Mary Zenker; Murat Tasci; Economic Commentary
Abstract: Countries with very flexible institutions and labor market polices, like the United States, experienced substantial increases in unemployment over the course of the Great Recession, while countries with relatively rigid institutions and strict labor market policies, like France, fared better. However, this better short-term performance comes with a tradeoff: Evidence suggests that flexible labor markets keep unemployment lower in the long run.

top

 

May, 2011 Mary Zenker; Dionissi Aliprantis; Economic Trends
Abstract:

Over the past 40 years, poverty rates have varied between 11 percent and 15 percent of the population. The official poverty statistics measure poverty as experienced at the level of the family, but we can also consider the concentration of poverty within areas by looking at how many people live in high-poverty neighborhoods. We look at trends in the concentration of poverty by comparing poverty rates in different U.S. census tracts over time. We find that since the 1970s there has been an increase in the number of Americans living in neighborhoods with high levels of poverty.


top

 

May, 2011 Mary Zenker; Murat Tasci; Economic Trends
Abstract: The recent ups and downs of the unemployment rate should not be surprising even this far into the recovery. We would expect unemployment to go down as the economy recovers and firms start to create jobs. On the other hand, the number of unemployed workers looking for a job might also grow, if previously discouraged workers or those not looking for work start coming back to the labor force as the prospect of finding a job improves. These two channels can play against each other in determining the unemployment rate, and they certainly have in this recovery. Which channel will dominate over the next few months is an open question.

top

 

March, 2011 Mary Zenker; Murat Tasci; Economic Trends
Abstract: The recent recession was felt around the globe. Most advanced economies and some developing countries experienced a significant contraction in real output sometime after 2007, and this widespread slowdown translated into exceptionally bad performance in world output. According to the IMF, after growing at a rate of 4.2 percent every year between 2000 and 2007, world output grew only 2.8 percent in 2008 and contracted by 0.5 percent in 2009. This might be the first time since World War II that the world economy actually shrank.

top

 

March, 2011 Mary Zenker; Dionissi Aliprantis; Economic Trends
Abstract: Labor market experiences can be highly varied for individuals with different levels of educational attainment. Higher levels of educational attainment tend to be associated with higher wages, and there is evidence that the benefits of a degree have been increasing in recent decades in the United States. Given this changing wage structure, a natural issue to investigate is whether other employment outcomes have also changed by education levels over time.

top

 

February, 2011 Mary Zenker; Daniel Hartley; Economic Trends
Abstract: The employment data released last Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the unemployment rate has fallen by 0.4 percentage point, to 9.0 percent. However, there was little or no change to the labor force participation rate, which is at its lowest level since the mid-1980s. The fraction of the population that is counted as not being in the labor force has now risen to a level higher than at any time since 1990. Has one demographic group been driving the increase in the number of workers leaving the workforce, or does the increase just reflect a broad-based departure of all demographic groups? Both factors seem to be responsible to some degree, depending on how you slice the data.

top

 

January, 2011 Mary Zenker; Timothy Dunne; Kyle Fee; Economic Trends
Abstract: Unemployment remains quite high in the nation and higher still in the Fourth District, though it has been nearly 18 months since the recovery began. The unemployment rate in the Fourth District inched down to 10.0 percent in November, while in the nation as a whole it is slightly lower but still high (9.8 percent in November and 9.4 percent in December).

top

 

December, 2010 Mary Zenker; Murat Tasci; Economic Trends
Abstract: The effects of the recent recession have been especially bad for the labor market. With the current estimate of real GDP only 0.6 percent lower than its prerecession peak, most of the loss in real GDP over the course of the recession has been recovered, but payroll employment is still about 5.4 percent less than its pre-recession peak. Indeed, the current job finding rate is at an historical low while the labor market is also experiencing one of its weakest periods in several decades.

top