the Federal Reserve Act calls for ‘maximum employment’, not ‘minimum unemployment’. This distinction did not matter much in the past, but it is becoming increasingly important. The ‘participation gap’ remains as big a drag on growth as ‘unemployment’ and we, like Goldman, would expect the Fed to ‘change’ its target for their outcome-based guidance (to enable moar printing)…
The unemployment rate is increasingly distorted by the decline in labor force participation.
Some of this decline is clearly related to the aging of the US population. Population aging shifts the composition of the over-16 population – which forms the denominator of the participation rate. The chart below shows that changes in the composition of the population account for 1.2 percentage points of the decline in labor force participation…
The shift of jobless individuals from unemployment into inactivity is making the unemployment rate a less appropriate measure of broad labor market conditions. This has important implications for Fed policy because it implies that the committee might still be quite far from reaching the jobs side of its mandate even once the unemployment rate is back at 6%. After all, the Federal Reserve Act calls for “maximum employment”, not “minimum unemployment.” This distinction did not matter much in the past, but it is becoming increasingly important.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor
The Federal Reserve’s is expected to extend its easing measures until the job market improves “substantially”, the stated goal is a decline of the unemployment rate to 6.5%. One can use the unemployment rate model to provide an estimate of the future unemployment rate (UER). This model suggests that the unemployment rate will decline to … Continue reading »
The decision was a testament to what former colleagues call Evans’s ability to build consensus. It also shows how one of the Fed’s 12 regional bank presidents can influence policy that is usually made by the central bank’s Washington-based board of governors, led by Bernanke. “Through the power of his ideas and his powers of … Continue reading »
The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it will take unprecedented steps to bolster the economy, saying it will continue to stimulate growth until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5 percent or the inflation rate reaches 2.5 percent. The Fed said it did not expect unemployment to reach that benchmark until 2015. It was a historic … Continue reading »