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The Natural Rate of Unemployment over the Past 100 Years

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The natural rate of unemployment, or u-star, is used by economists and policymakers to help assess the overall state of the labor market. However, the natural rate is not directly observable and must be estimated. A new statistical approach estimates the natural rate over the past 100 years. Results suggest the natural rate has been remarkably stable over history, hovering between 4.5 and 5.5% for long periods, even during the Great Depression. Recent readings on the unemployment rate have been running slightly below the natural rate estimate.

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  • Barnichon, Regis & Matthes, Christian, 2017. "The Natural Rate of Unemployment over the Past 100 Years," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfel:00138
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    File URL: http://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/files/el2017-23.pdf
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    1. Henry S. Farber & Robert G. Valletta, 2015. "Do Extended Unemployment Benefits Lengthen Unemployment Spells?: Evidence from Recent Cycles in the U.S. Labor Market," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(4), pages 873-909.
    2. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko, 2015. "Is the Phillips Curve Alive and Well after All? Inflation Expectations and the Missing Disinflation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 197-232, January.
    3. Timothy Cogley & Thomas J. Sargent, 2005. "Drift and Volatilities: Monetary Policies and Outcomes in the Post WWII U.S," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 8(2), pages 262-302, April.
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    1. Navigating in Cloudy Skies
      by Steve Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz in Money, Banking and Financial Markets on 2018-12-10 12:14:25

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    1. Yellen, Janet L., 2017. "Inflation, Uncertainty, and Monetary Policy : a speech at the "Prospects for Growth: Reassessing the Fundamentals" 59th Annual Meeting of the National Association for Business Economics, Cle," Speech 971, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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