Conventional wisdom usually dies hard, but one long-held axiom relating to unemployment may be ready for the graveyard.
For years, economists have accepted 150,000 as the benchmark number of new jobs needed every month to keep the jobless rate level. Anything above that was supposed to lower the rate, while anything below added to the closely followed headline number.
Not so anymore, according to the Chicago branch of the Federal Reserve.
Central bank researchers, in fact, say that because of various factors that number now will be closer to 80,000.
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Moreover, a paper the Fed recently released on the issue maintains that the number will continue to fall, and at a fairly rapid pace, all the way down to 35,000 by 2016.
"The projected slowdown is based on 1) a continuing decline in trend labor force participation attributable to the aging of the baby boomer generation and 2) a lower level of projected population growth going forward," Daniel Aaronson, vice president and director of microeconomic research, and Scott Brave, senior business economist, said in the research paper.
"The Census Bureau projects a significant slowdown in population growth from the 1 percent-1.25 percent rate that prevailed for the two decades prior to the most recent recession," they added.