IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

The Nature and Measurement of Unemployment

Listed author(s):
  • Robert E. Hall

Problems of defining and measuring unemployemnt in the contemporary American economy are examined here using data from the official employment survey. The paper finds that only a minority of the unemployed conform to the conventional picture of a worker who has lost one job and is looking f or another job. Other important categories are those who have jobs but are not at work because the jobs have not yet started or because of layoff, workers who are in normal spells between temporary jobs, people who are looking into the possibility of work as an alternative to household duties, school, or retirement, and people who have come back into the labor force. None of these categories is dominant. One of the most significant findings is the large number of the unemployed (close to a million in 1977) who are looking for temporary work. Another important finding is that only a minority of the unemployed are looking for work as their major activity during the week of the survey. The majority of those classified officially as unemployed are identified by the household as keeping house, going to school, or retired.

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:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0252.

in new window

Date of creation: Jul 1978
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0252
Note: EFG
Contact details of provider: Postal:
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

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:nbr:nberwo:0252. 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: ()

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.