The Natural Rate of Unemployment

Essay 2: The Natural Rate of Unemployment
1. (2 paragraphs) 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.
a. 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 first quarter of 2017 (2017 Q1). (The graph shows estimates
of the natural rate from 1950 to 2024).
b. Use the Bureau of Labor Statistics website (bls.gov) to find the most recent estimate
of the actual unemployment rate.
2. (1paragraph) Read the Introduction (the first three pages of the pdf) 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. 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 three 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%, etc.
After receiving feedback from NetTutor, you have a week to revise and re-submit the essay
to NetTutor for another try, but you only get one second chance on each essay. If you don’t get an
acceptable score, even after revising and resubmitting your essay, you can still rescue your grade by
doing well on the next two essays. I will take the average of your three highest essay scores to
compute your essay average. 5 Criteria
Writing Application of
economic
analysis Analysis of
data Needs Improvement
The writing is difficult to follow
and/or poorly organized.
Transition sentences are absent or
ineffective. Typos
and/or grammatical errors distract the
reader.
The definition of the term full employment
is vague, incomplete, or incorrect.
The student draws the wrong conclusion
from her comparison of the actual and
natural rates of unemployment.
The student does not identify the
reasons for the changes in the natural
rate of unemployment from 2007 to
2012, or does so incompletely or
incorrectly.
The student inaccurately reports the
natural rate of unemployment and/or
the actual rate of unemployment, or
does not cite the source of the data. Meets Expectations
Ideas are well-organized. Transition
sentences effectively connect one
idea to the next. The essay is free of
typos and grammatical errors.
The definition of the term full
employment is thorough and correct.
The student draws the correct
conclusion from her comparison of
the actual and natural rates of
unemployment.
The student discusses the reasons for
the changes in the natural rate of
unemployment from 2007 to 2012
completely and correctly.
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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