Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Unemployment to remain high for years

According to a survey of professional forecasters conducted by the Philadelphia Fed, the unemployment rate is expected to remain abnormally high for at least three more years.

When looking at the graph above, keep in mind that from the mid-1990s until 2007, unemployment generally ranged from 4-6%, with NAIRU (essentially the natural rate of unemployment) being about 5%. Furthermore, since 1947 there have only been three times when the unemployment rate exceeded 8%: the mid-1970s, the early 1980s, and now.

These numbers echo, but are worse than, a recovery prediction I quoted six months ago:
Even if the recession miraculously ended tomorrow, economists estimate that at least three years would pass before full employment returned and output rose enough for the economy to operate at full throttle.

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