Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Slip and Drift in Labor Statistics Since 2007


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This paper draws attention to recent trends concerning statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor. One is a slip in labor force participation even after controlling for demographic changes in the population. Another is some provisional indication that the official unemployment rate is drifting apart from other measures of the performance of the labor force. Economists should make greater use of additional sources of data on the labor market, and I offer some reasons to be concerned with effects of long-term unemployment, moral effects, beyond lost output.