IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/iza/izadps/dp5832.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Recent Evolution of the Natural Rate of Unemployment

Author

Listed:
  • Daly, Mary C.

    (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)

  • Hobijn, Bart

    (Arizona State University)

  • Valletta, Robert G.

    (Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco)

Abstract

The U.S. economy is recovering from the financial crisis and ensuing deep recession, but the unemployment rate has remained stubbornly high. Some have argued that the persistent elevation of unemployment relative to historical norms reflects the fact that the shocks that hit the economy were especially disruptive to labor markets and likely to have long lasting effects. If such structural factors are at work they would result in a higher underlying natural or nonaccelerating inflation rate of unemployment, implying that conventional monetary and fiscal policy should not be used in an attempt to return unemployment to its pre-recession levels. We investigate the hypothesis that the natural rate of unemployment has increased since the recession began, and if so, whether the underlying causes are transitory or persistent. We begin by reviewing a standard search and matching model of unemployment, which shows that two curves – the Beveridge curve (BC) and the Job Creation curve (JCC) – determine equilibrium unemployment. Using this framework, our joint theoretical and empirical exercise suggests that the natural rate of unemployment has in fact risen over the past several years, by an amount ranging from 0.6 to 1.9 percentage points. This increase implies a current natural rate in the range of 5.6 to 6.9 percent, with our preferred estimate at 6.25 percent. After examining evidence regarding the effects of labor market mismatch, extended unemployment benefits, and productivity growth, we conclude that only a small fraction of the recent increase in the natural rate is likely to persist beyond a five-year forecast horizon.

Suggested Citation

  • Daly, Mary C. & Hobijn, Bart & Valletta, Robert G., 2011. "The Recent Evolution of the Natural Rate of Unemployment," IZA Discussion Papers 5832, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5832
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://docs.iza.org/dp5832.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Congressional Budget Office, 2010. "The Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update," Reports 21670, Congressional Budget Office.
    2. Bowden, Roger J, 1980. "On the Existence and Secular Stability of u-v Loci," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(185), pages 35-50, February.
    3. Christina D. Romer & David H. Romer, 1994. "What Ends Recessions?," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1994, Volume 9, pages 13-80, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Miles S. Kimball & John G. Fernald & Susanto Basu, 2006. "Are Technology Improvements Contractionary?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1418-1448, December.
    5. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "The Aftermath of Financial Crises," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 466-472, May.
    6. David Brauer, 2007. "The Natural Rate of Unemployment: Working Paper 2007-06," Working Papers 18566, Congressional Budget Office.
    7. Ramey, Garey & Shigeru Fujita, 2006. "The Cyclicality of Job Loss and Hiring," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt4nz8p839, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
    8. 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.
    9. Robert G. Valletta, 2005. "Why has the U.S. Beveridge curve shifted back? new evidence using regional data," Working Paper Series 2005-25, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    10. Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2012. "Interstate Migration Has Fallen Less Than You Think: Consequences of Hot Deck Imputation in the Current Population Survey," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(3), pages 1061-1074, August.
    11. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, May.
    12. Regis Barnichon & Bart Hobijn & Aysegul Sahin, 2010. "Which industries are shifting the Beveridge curve?," Working Paper Series 2010-32, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    13. Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2012. "Negative equity does not reduce homeowners’ mobility," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Feb, pages 1-17.
    14. Ch. Pissarides., 2011. "The Unemployment Volatility Puzzle: Is Wage Stickiness the Answer?," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 1.
    15. Samuel Bentolila & Giuseppe Bertola, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402.
    16. Robert Shimer, 2007. "Mismatch," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1074-1101, September.
    17. Thijs van Rens, 2004. "Organizational capital and employment fluctuations," Economics Working Papers 944, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    18. Athanasios Orphanides & John C. Williams, 2002. "Robust Monetary Policy Rules with Unknown Natural Rates," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 33(2), pages 63-146.
    19. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 173-234, April.
    20. Steven J. Davis & R. Jason Faberman & John C. Haltiwanger, 2013. "The Establishment-Level Behavior of Vacancies and Hiring," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 581-622.
    21. Michael W. L. Elsby & Bart Hobijn & Ayşegül Şahin, 2013. "Unemployment Dynamics in the OECD," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 530-548, May.
    22. Card, David & Levine, Phillip B., 2000. "Extended benefits and the duration of UI spells: evidence from the New Jersey extended benefit program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1-2), pages 107-138, October.
    23. Congressional Budget Office, 2010. "The Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update," Reports 21670, Congressional Budget Office.
    24. Congressional Budget Office, 2010. "The Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update," Reports 21670, Congressional Budget Office.
    25. 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.
    26. Darby, Michael R & Haltiwanger, John C & Plant, Mark W, 1985. "Unemployment Rate Dynamics and Persistent Unemployment under Rational Expectations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 614-637, September.
    27. Michael W. L. Elsby & Bart Hobijn & Aysegul Sahin, 2010. "The Labor Market in the Great Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(1 (Spring), pages 1-69.
    28. Michael R. Darby & John C. Haltiwanger & Mark W. Plant, 1986. "The Ins and Outs of Unemployment: The Ins Win," UCLA Economics Working Papers 411, UCLA Department of Economics.
    29. Mary C. Daly & Bart Hobijn & Joyce Kwok, 2010. "Labor force participation and the future path of unemployment," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue sep13.
    30. Congressional Budget Office, 2010. "The Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update," Reports 21670, Congressional Budget Office.
    31. repec:cbo:report:216708 is not listed on IDEAS
    32. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 173-234, April.
    33. Congressional Budget Office, 2010. "The Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update," Reports 21670, Congressional Budget Office.
    34. Sterk, Vincent, 2015. "Home equity, mobility, and macroeconomic fluctuations," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 16-32.
    35. Barnichon, Regis, 2010. "Building a composite Help-Wanted Index," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 109(3), pages 175-178, December.
    36. Daniel Aaronson & Bhashkar Mazumder & Shani Schechter, 2010. "What is behind the rise in long-term unemployment?," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, vol. 34(Q II), pages 28-51.
    37. Mortensen, Dale T., 1994. "The cyclical behavior of job and worker flows," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(6), pages 1121-1142, November.
    38. Congressional Budget Office, 2010. "The Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update," Reports 21670, Congressional Budget Office.
    39. Mary C. Daly & Bart Hobijn, 2010. "Okun’s law and the unemployment surprise of 2009," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue mar8.
    40. 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.
    41. Daniel J. Wilson, 2010. "Is the recent productivity boom over?," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue sep20.
    42. Congressional Budget Office, 2010. "The Budget and Economic Outlook: An Update," Reports 21670, Congressional Budget Office.
    43. repec:cbo:report:216707 is not listed on IDEAS
    44. repec:cbo:report:216706 is not listed on IDEAS
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Chassamboulli, Andri, 2013. "Labor-market volatility in a matching model with worker heterogeneity and endogenous separations," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 217-229.
    2. 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.
    3. Jinzhu Chen & Prakash Kannan & Prakash Loungani & Bharat Trehan, 2012. "New evidence on cyclical and structural sources of unemployment," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue March, pages 1-23.
    4. Bart Hobijn & Aysegul Sahin, 2013. "Beveridge Curve Shifts across Countries since the Great Recession," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 61(4), pages 566-600, December.
    5. Mária Illés, 2016. "Enterprise Models in Terms of Sustainability," Theory Methodology Practice (TMP), Faculty of Economics, University of Miskolc, vol. 12(si), pages 55-67.
    6. Robert E. Hall & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2018. "Measuring Job-Finding Rates and Matching Efficiency with Heterogeneous Job-Seekers," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 1-32, January.
    7. John Schmitt & Kris Warner, 2011. "Deconstructing Structural Unemployment," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2011-06, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    8. Peter A. Diamond & Ayşegül Şahin, 2016. "Disaggregating the Matching Function," NBER Working Papers 22965, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Hall, R.E., 2016. "Macroeconomics of Persistent Slumps," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & Harald Uhlig (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 0, pages 2131-2181, Elsevier.
    10. Sam Schulhofer-Wohl & Robert Hall, 2014. "Measuring Matching Efficiency with Heterogeneous Jobseekers," 2014 Meeting Papers 368, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    11. Diamond, Peter A. & Şahin, Ayşegül, 2015. "Shifts in the Beveridge curve," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 18-25.
    12. Jesse Rothstein, 2011. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search in the Great Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(2 (Fall)), pages 143-213.
    13. Mária Illés, 2016. "Enterprise Models in Terms of Sustainability," Theory Methodology Practice (TMP), Faculty of Economics, University of Miskolc, vol. 12(02), pages 55-67.
    14. Hie Joo Ahn & Leland D. Crane, 2020. "Dynamic Beveridge Curve Accounting," Papers 2003.00033, arXiv.org.
    15. John Schmitt, 2011. "Labor Market Policy in the Great Recession: Some Lessons from Denmark and Germany," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2011-12, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    16. Edward P. Lazear & James R. Spletzer, 2012. "The United States labor market: status quo or a new normal?," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 405-451.
    17. Mary C. Daly & Bast Hobijn & Ayşeqül Şahin & Robert G. Valletta, 2012. "Rynki pracy w modelu poszukiwań i dopasowań: czy naturalna stopa bezrobocia rzeczywiście wzrosła?," Gospodarka Narodowa. The Polish Journal of Economics, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 11-12, pages 147-172.
    18. J. Bradford DeLong & Lawrence H. Summers, 2012. "Fiscal Policy in a Depressed Economy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 44(1 (Spring), pages 233-297.
    19. Boele Bonthuis & Valerie Jarvis & Juuso Vanhala, 2016. "Shifts in euro area Beveridge curves and their determinants," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-17, December.
    20. Vanhala, Juuso & Bonthuis, Boele & Jarvis, Valerie, 2013. "What’s going on behind the euro area Beveridge curve(s)?," Working Paper Series 1586, European Central Bank.
    21. Anosova, Daria & Sonin, Konstantin & Vanags, Alf & Zasova, Anna, 2013. "Structural or Cyclical? Unemployment in Latvia Since the 2008-09 Financial Crisis," CEPR Discussion Papers 9525, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    22. Mary Daly & Bart Hobijn & Aysegul Sahin & Robert Valletta, 2011. "A Rising Natural Rate of Unemployment: Transitory or Permanent?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-160/3, Tinbergen Institute.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Mary C. Daly & Bast Hobijn & Ayşeqül Şahin & Robert G. Valletta, 2012. "Rynki pracy w modelu poszukiwań i dopasowań: czy naturalna stopa bezrobocia rzeczywiście wzrosła?," Gospodarka Narodowa. The Polish Journal of Economics, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 11-12, pages 147-172.
    2. Mary Daly & Bart Hobijn & Aysegul Sahin & Robert Valletta, 2011. "A Rising Natural Rate of Unemployment: Transitory or Permanent?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-160/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    3. 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.
    4. Regis Barnichon & Bart Hobijn & Aysegul Sahin, 2010. "Which industries are shifting the Beveridge curve?," Working Paper Series 2010-32, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    5. Michael W. L. Elsby & Bart Hobijn & Aysegul Sahin, 2010. "The Labor Market in the Great Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 41(1 (Spring), pages 1-69.
    6. David Lang & Kevin J. Lansing, 2010. "Forecasting growth over the next year with a business cycle index," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue sep27.
    7. Hess Chung & Jean-Philippe Laforte & David Reifschneider & John C. Williams, 2012. "Have We Underestimated the Likelihood and Severity of Zero Lower Bound Events?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 44, pages 47-82, February.
    8. Bart Hobijn & Aysegul Sahin, 2013. "Beveridge Curve Shifts across Countries since the Great Recession," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 61(4), pages 566-600, December.
    9. Bart Hobijn, 2012. "The industry-occupation mix of U.S. job openings and hires," Working Paper Series 2012-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
    10. Craig Garthwaite & Tal Gross & Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2014. "Public Health Insurance, Labor Supply, and Employment Lock," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 653-696.
    11. Martin Feldstein, 2011. "Preventing a National Debt Explosion," Tax Policy and the Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 109-144.
    12. Francesco Furlanetto & Nicolas Groshenny, 2016. "Mismatch Shocks and Unemployment During the Great Recession," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(7), pages 1197-1214, November.
    13. Jane G. Gravelle & Sean Lowry, 2016. "The Affordable Care Act, Labor Supply, and Social Welfare," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 69(4), pages 863-882, December.
    14. Tang, Hsiao Chink & Liu, Philip & Cheung, Eddie C., 2013. "Changing impact of fiscal policy on selected ASEAN countries," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 103-116.
    15. Rogerson, Richard & Shimer, Robert, 2011. "Search in Macroeconomic Models of the Labor Market," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 7, pages Pages: 61, Elsevier.
    16. Cochrane, John H., 2011. "Understanding policy in the great recession: Some unpleasant fiscal arithmetic," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 2-30, January.
    17. Vanhala, Juuso & Bonthuis, Boele & Jarvis, Valerie, 2013. "What’s going on behind the euro area Beveridge curve(s)?," Working Paper Series 1586, European Central Bank.
    18. Crump, Richard K. & Eusepi, Stefano & Giannoni, Marc & Sahin, Aysegul, 2019. "A Unified Approach to Measuring u," CEPR Discussion Papers 13939, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    19. Jesse Rothstein, 2011. "Unemployment Insurance and Job Search in the Great Recession," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 42(2 (Fall)), pages 143-213.
    20. Michael W. L. Elsby & Bart Hobijn & Ayşegül Şahin, 2013. "Unemployment Dynamics in the OECD," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 530-548, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    equilibrium unemployment; Beveridge curve; structural unemployment; mismatch;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5832. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/izaaade.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Holger Hinte (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/izaaade.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.