IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Capacity utilization rates and unemployment rates: are they complements or substitutes in warning about future inflation?

  • Willie Belton
  • Richard Cebula

This research examines capacity utilization as a measure of economic slack in the US economy. Many macroeconomists have questioned the use of capacity utilization as a measure of economics slack on several fronts. The first issue revolves around the definition and accuracy of measurement of the capacity utilization rate in the US economy. Since this research use existing Federal Reserve measures of capacity utilization no insights into the definition and measurement issues are offered other than the fact that a consistent role is found for two different Fed measures of capacity utilization in explaining inflation. The second issue effectively involves the concern as to robustness of the link between the capacity utilization rate and inflation. It was found that there is indeed reason for the Federal Reserve to take note of changes in capacity utilization when trying to determine its policy position with regard to inflation. Clearly, the high capacity measure developed in this research offers distinct information about the inflation process. The third issue raises the question as to whether the capacity utilization and unemployment rates are complements or substitutes in the inflation equation. Both rates tend to provide similar information regarding price changes at low levels of aggregate resource usage. However, as resource usage in the economy becomes increasingly close to its maximum potential, the labour market impact on inflation, as capture by unemployment rate measures, is distinctly different from that of capacity constraints. Finally, if the capacity utilization rate is indeed a useful measure of inflationary pressure, is there a threshold level of the capacity utilization rate above which policymakers should become particularly concerned about the potential of accelerating inflation? It was found that across two measures of inflation, the widely discussed capacity threshold level is in the 84-85% range.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/000368400425071
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 32 (2000)
Issue (Month): 14 ()
Pages: 1853-1864

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:32:y:2000:i:14:p:1853-1864
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/RAEC20

Order Information: Web: http://www.tandfonline.com/pricing/journal/RAEC20

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:32:y:2000:i:14:p:1853-1864. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Michael McNulty)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.