Writing assignment: the natural rate of unemployment

1. (1 paragraph) Has the U.S. economy achieved approximate full employment yet? Explain how we define ‘full employment’ and how you can tell whether or not that goal has been achieved. Use appropriate data to support your answer (see below). Be sure to cite the sources of your data in your essay.

• Use the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ estimate of the Natural Rate of Unemployment (short-term) at http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/NROUST Drag your cursor across the graph to find the estimate of the natural rate of unemployment for the last quarter of 2017 (2017 Q4). (The graph shows estimates of the natural rate from 1950 to 2025).

• Use the Bureau of Labor Statistics website (bls.gov) to find the most recent estimate of the actual unemployment rate (for 2017 Q4).

2. (1-3 paragraphs) Read the Introduction of the article “A Search and Matching Approach to Labor Markets: Did the Natural Rate of Unemployment Rise?” by Mary C. Daly, Bart Hobijn, Aysegul Sahin, and Robert G. Vallet. (The article starts on page 3. You need to read pages 3 and 4, and the two paragraphs at the top of page 5.) How do the authors explain the increase in the Natural Rate of Unemployment during and after the financial crisis (from 2007 to 2012)?

Grading Rubric

The table below shows the criteria your essay will be judged against. I expect about five paragraphs, double-spaced. Your essay will be assessed as either ‘Meets expectations’ or ‘Needs improvement’ on each of the five criteria in the table below. If your essay meets expectations on 3 of the 5 criteria, your score will be 60%; 2 out of 5 criteria met will result in a score of 40%, etcetera.

Writing:1.Ideas are well-organized. Transition sentences effectively connect one idea to the next. The essay is free of typos and grammatical errors.

Application of economic analysis:2.The definition of the term full employment is thorough and correct.3.The student draws the correct conclusion from her comparison of the actual and natural rate of unemployment. 4.The student discusses the reasons for the changes in the natural rate of unemployment from 2007 to 2012 completely correctly.

Analysis of Data:5.The student accurately reports the natural rate of unemployment and the actual rate of unemployment and cites the source for both.

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