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Measurement of unemployment

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  • Katharine L. Bradbury

Abstract

Measures of unemployment tally people without a job who are looking for one. For measurement purposes, the critical question is what constitutes “looking.” This article summarizes how unemployment is measured in the United States and Europe, and describes recent research investigating the permeability of the dividing line between the unemployed and “marginally attached” subgroups of those out of the labor market. A continuum between unemployed and entirely inactive individuals indicates that measures beyond unemployment may be useful in judging the state of the labor market.

Suggested Citation

  • Katharine L. Bradbury, 2006. "Measurement of unemployment," Public Policy Brief, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbpb:y:2006:n:06-2
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    File URL: http://www.bostonfed.org/economic/ppb/2006/ppb062.htm
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    File URL: http://www.bostonfed.org/economic/ppb/2006/ppb062.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Stephen R. G. Jones & W. Craig Riddell, 2006. "Unemployment and Nonemployment: Heterogeneities in Labor Market States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 314-323, May.
    2. Garrido, Luis & Toharia, Luis, 2004. "What does it take to be (counted as) unemployed? The case of Spain," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 507-523, August.
    3. Stephen R. G. Jones & W. Craig Riddell, 1999. "The Measurement of Unemployment: An Empirical Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 67(1), pages 147-162, January.
    4. Kim B. Clark & Lawrence H. Summers, 1979. "Labor Market Dynamics and Unemployemnt: A Reconsideration," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 10(1), pages 13-72.
    5. Mark E. Schweitzer, 2003. "Ready, willing, and able? measuring labour availability in the UK," Working Papers (Old Series) 0303, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    6. Andrea Brandolini & Piero Cipollone & Eliana Viviano, 2006. "Does The Ilo Definition Capture All Unemployment?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 4(1), pages 153-179, March.
    7. Katharine L. Bradbury, 2005. "Additional slack in the economy: the poor recovery in labor force participation during this business cycle," Public Policy Brief, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    8. Anderson Katharine & Barrow Lisa & Butcher Kristin F., 2005. "Implications of Changes in Men's and Women's Labor Force Participation for Real Compensation Growth and Inflation," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-27, March.
    9. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 1997. "Unemployment and Nonemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 295-300, May.
    10. Robert Shimer, 2012. "Reassessing the Ins and Outs of Unemployment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(2), pages 127-148, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ayça Akarçay Gürbüz & Sezgin Polat & Mustafa Ulus, 2014. "In Limbo: Exploring Transition to Discouragement," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 26(4), pages 527-551, September.
    2. Torben Dall Schmidt & Aki Kangasharju & Daniel Rauhut, 2011. "Population Changes and Regional Economic Growth in the Nordic Countries 1994-2006," ERSA conference papers ersa10p922, European Regional Science Association.
    3. Peder Pedersen & Torben Schmidt, 2011. "What is unemployment in Europe? Concepts and measurement in the European community household panel," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 705-728, May.

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    Keywords

    Unemployment;

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