US Fed Study Shows Unemployment Rate Still Good Indicator

The U.S. jobless rate in recent years has been a good gauge of slack in the economy, according to a paper published Monday by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco that takes aim at critics who have argued otherwise.

Indeed, the unemployment rate has responded to GDP growth since the financial crisis in essentially the same way that it has in every recession since the 1970s, the paper’s authors found, rising when economic output slows, and falling when it speeds up.

“The unemployment rate remains a good summary measure of overall economic slack,” wrote Mary Daly, No. 2 in the San Francisco Fed’s research department, and John Fernald, a senior research advisor at the San Francisco Fed, in the latest issue of the bank’s Economic Letter.

Figuring out the exact extent of slack in the economy is one of the most pressing questions for monetary policymakers, Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said.

via Reuters

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza