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Historical Nonfarm Unemployment Statistics

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Historical Nonfarm Unemployment Statistics: An updated graph that Claudia Goldin had me make two and a half decades ago. The nonfarm unemployment rate since 1869: Then it was 1890-1990, now it is 1869-2015, thanks to: J.R. Vernon (1994): http://delong.typepad.com/1-s2.0-0164070494900086-main.pdf C.D. Romer (1986): http://delong.typepad.com/spurious-volatility.pdf BLS (2015): http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?ln with spreadsheet at: http://tinyurl.com/dl20160405 The assumption–debateable–is that “unemployment” is not a farm thing–that in the rural south or in the midwest or on the prairie you can always find a place of some sort as a hired hand, and that “unemployment” is a town- and city-based nonfarm phenomenon. I confess I do not understand how anyone can look at this

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Historical Nonfarm Unemployment Statistics: An updated graph that Claudia Goldin had me make two and a half decades ago. The nonfarm unemployment rate since 1869:

2016 04 05 Historical Nonfarm Unemployment Estimates numbers

Then it was 1890-1990, now it is 1869-2015, thanks to:

  • J.R. Vernon (1994): http://delong.typepad.com/1-s2.0-0164070494900086-main.pdf
  • C.D. Romer (1986): http://delong.typepad.com/spurious-volatility.pdf
  • BLS (2015): http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?ln

with spreadsheet at: http://tinyurl.com/dl20160405

The assumption–debateable–is that “unemployment” is not a farm thing–that in the rural south or in the midwest or on the prairie you can always find a place of some sort as a hired hand, and that “unemployment” is a town- and city-based nonfarm phenomenon.

I confess I do not understand how anyone can look at this series and think that calculating stable and unchanging autocorrelations and innovation variances is a reasonable first-cut thing to do.


#macro #economichistory #labormarket #highlighted
Bradford DeLong
J. Bradford DeLong is Professor of Economics at the University of California at Berkeley and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was Deputy Assistant US Treasury Secretary during the Clinton Administration, where he was heavily involved in budget and trade negotiations. His role in designing the bailout of Mexico during the 1994 peso crisis placed him at the forefront of Latin America’s transformation into a region of open economies, and cemented his stature as a leading voice in economic-policy debates.

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