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What Can We Learn by Disaggregating the Unemployment – Vacancy Relationship?

What Can We Learn by Disaggregating the Unemployment-Vacancy Relationship?, Public Policy Brief No. 12-3, by Rand Ghayad and William Dickens, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, October 2012.

  • “The Beveridge curve—the empirical relationship between unemployment and job vacancies—is thought to be an indicator of the efficiency of the functioning of the labor market. Normally, when job vacancies rise, unemployment falls, following a curved path that typically remains stable over long periods of time. When vacancies rise and unemployment does not fall (or falls too slowly) this may be an indication of problems of structural mismatch in the labor market leading to an increase in the lowest unemployment rate that can be maintained without increasing inflation (the NAIRU or nonaccelerating inflation rate of unemployment). Such a change in the vacancy-unemployment relationship occurred once in the 1970s and persisted through the late 1980s, and we have recently observed a similar change. This policy brief explores the nature of the recent change in the vacancy-unemployment relationship by disaggregating the data by industry, age, education, and duration of unemployment, and by examining blue- and white-collar groups separately.”
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