Historical Nonfarm Unemployment Statistics

An updated graph that Claudia Goldin had me make two and a half decades ago. The nonfarm unemployment rate since 1890:

2016 04 05 Historical Nonfarm Unemployment Estimates numbers

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

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…

April 5, 2016


Brad DeLong
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