The Inexorable Recoveries of US Unemployment
Unemployment recoveries in the US have been inexorable. It is a remarkable fact that, prior to 2020, after unemployment reached its peak in a recession, and a recovery began, the annual reduction in the unemployment rate was stable at around 0.1 log points per year. The economy seems to have an irresistible force toward restoring full employment. Unless another crisis intervenes, unemployment continues to glide down to its minimum level of approximately 3.5 percentage points. The observed behavior of unemployment casts doubt on the common assumption that there is a constant natural rate of unemployment around which unemployment oscillates. Instead, the natural rate of unemployment during recoveries tracks actual unemployment on its downward path.
The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or the Federal Reserve System.