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A Search and Matching Approach to Labor Markets: Did the Natural Rate of Unemployment Rise?

Author

Listed:
  • Mary C. Daly
  • Bart Hobijn
  • Aysegül Sahin
  • Robert G. Valletta

Abstract

The U.S. unemployment rate has remained stubbornly high since the 2007-2009 recession, leading some observers to conclude that structural rather than cyclical factors are to blame. Relying on a standard job search and matching framework and empirical evidence from a wide array of labor market indicators, we examine whether the natural rate of unemployment has increased since the recession began, and if so, whether the underlying causes are transitory or persistent. Our preferred estimate indicates an increase in the natural rate of unemployment of about one percentage point during the recession and its immediate aftermath, putting the current natural rate at around 6 percent. An assessment of the underlying factors responsible for this increase, including labor market mismatch, extended unemployment benefits, and uncertainty about overall economic conditions, implies that only a small fraction is likely to be persistent.

Suggested Citation

  • Mary C. Daly & Bart Hobijn & Aysegül Sahin & Robert G. Valletta, 2012. "A Search and Matching Approach to Labor Markets: Did the Natural Rate of Unemployment Rise?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 3-26, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:26:y:2012:i:3:p:3-26
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.26.3.3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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