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The unemployment rate has been a perfect forecaster of a recession in the past 70 years, and it appears to be edging closer to triggering that signal. “It’s never been wrong. It’s something to watch,” said Joseph Lavorgna, chief economist for the Americas at Natixis.
As the unemployment rate hovers around 4% (the number reported in the mainstream media) a more accurate unemployment number is 8.1%. This takes into account those who have given up on finding work and those who are underemployed (workers who are part-time but want full-time employment), This more accurate unemployment number is called the U-6, while we often hear the U-3 reported on the news. But even former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen says the U-6 is a much more accurate indicator of where things are with regards to the economy.
Lavorgna - Economy - Recession - Unemployment - Rate
According to Lavorgna, since 1948, the economy has always entered or been in a recession when the unemployment rate increased 50 basis points (or 0.50 percentage point) from its trailing cyclical low. Lavorgna added that a recession has occurred in all 11 instances regardless of the level of unemployment, according to CNBC. He pointed to the example of a recession in 1953 when the unemployment rate rose to just 3.1 percent, and in 1981 when the cyclical low in the unemployment rate was high at 7.2 percent.
The unemployment rate which was reported...
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