Does Main Street Benefit from What Benefits Wall Street?

Sean J. Flynn and Andra Ghent

We show that aggregate stock returns predict aggregate US employment, despite the industrial composition of publicly traded firms differing markedly from that of all firms, and the representativeness of public firms declining over time. We also show that appropriately reweighted stock returns predict industry and local labor market outcomes. We find the strongest evidence of an alignment of interests between shareholders and workers in the manufacturing sector, despite its declining labor share of output. Our findings suggest that, at quarterly frequencies, product demand shocks are more important drivers of industry- and city-level stock returns than technology shocks.

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