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Why has the U.S. Beveridge curve shifted back? new evidence using regional data

  • Robert G. Valletta

The Beveridge curve depicts the empirical relationship between job vacancies and unemployment, which in turn reflects the underlying efficiency of the job matching process. Previous analyses of the Beveridge curve suggested deterioration in match efficiency during the 1970s and early 1980s, followed by improved match efficiency beginning in the late 1980s. This paper combines aggregate and regional data on job vacancies and unemployment to estimate the U.S. aggregate and regional Beveridge curves, focusing on the period 1976-2005. Using new data on job vacancies from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the help-wanted advertising series that formed the basis of past work are modified to form synthetic job vacancy series at the national and regional level. The results suggest that a decline in the dispersion of employment growth across geographic areas contributed to a pronounced inward shift in the Beveridge curve since the late 1980s, reversing the earlier pattern identified by Abraham (1987) and reinforcing findings of favorable labor market trends in the 1990s (e.g., Katz and Krueger 1999).

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in its series Working Paper Series with number 2005-25.

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Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedfwp:2005-25
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  1. Christopher A. Pissarides & Barbara Petrongolo, 2001. "Looking into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 390-431, June.
  2. Borsch-Supan, Axel H, 1991. "Panel Data Analysis of the Beveridge Curve: Is There a Macroeconomic Relation between the Rate of Unemployment and the Vacancy Rate?," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 58(231), pages 279-97, August.
  3. Katharine G. Abraham, 1987. "Help-Wanted Advertising, Job Vacancies, and Unemployment," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(1), pages 207-248.
  4. Wall, Howard & Zoega, Gylfi, 1997. "The British Beveridge Curve: A Tale of Ten Regions," CEPR Discussion Papers 1771, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:84:y:1970:i:1:p:1-23 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Jackman, R & Roper, S, 1987. "Structural Unemployment," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 49(1), pages 9-36, February.
  7. Oliver Jean Blanchard & Peter Diamond, 1989. "The Beveridge Curve," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 20(1), pages 1-76.
  8. Hoyt Bleakley & Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, 1997. "Shifts in the Beveridge Curve, job matching, and labor market dynamics," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue Sep, pages 3-19.
  9. Patricia M. Anderson & Simon M. Burgess, 2000. "Empirical Matching Functions: Estimation and Interpretation Using State-Level Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 93-102, February.
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