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Okun’s Law and Long Expansions
Economic forecasters frequently use a simple rule of thumb called Okun's law to link their real GDP growth forecasts to their unemployment rate forecasts. While they recognize that temporary deviations from Okun's law may occur, forecasters often assume that sustained reductions in the unemployment rate require robust GDP growth. However, our analysis suggests that Okun's law has not been a consistently reliable tool for predicting the size of declines in the unemployment rate during the last three expansions—a finding that reflects the impact of changes in the labor market since the early ...
Prospects for the U.S. Labor Market
The unemployment rate in the United States fell from 9.1 percent in the summer of 2011 to 8.3 percent in February. This decline, the largest six-month drop in the unemployment rate since 1984, has surprised many economic forecasters. The decline is even more surprising because recent real GDP growth appears to have been around trend at best, whereas in early 1984, growth was more than 7 percent. Our next six posts in Liberty Street Economics will discuss prospects for the U.S. labor market given this surprisingly quick decline in the unemployment rate. In this opening post, we outline some of ...