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Under Current Trend, Unemployment Would Remain High

Created on July 8, 2011

Under Current Trend, Unemployment Would Remain High

Over the past six months, the economy has added an average of about 100,200 jobs per month. At that rate, due in part to population growth, the U.S. would effectively never reach the natural rate of unemployment, 5.2 percent. By comparison, if jobs grew at the same rate as they did in 1997–1999, unemployment would reach 5.2 percent sometime between 2014 and early 2016.


June 2018

March 2016

Nov. 2014



Natural rate of unemployment: 5.2%

2003–2007 Expansion (+176,000 jobs/month)

1997 (+216,500 jobs/month)

1997–1999 Tech Bubble (Payroll Survey) (+265,000 jobs/month)

Past Six Months (+100,200 jobs/month)

Future Unemployment Rate Under Different Rates of Job Growth

Actual Unemployment

Source: Heritage Foundation calculations using data from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics/Haver Analytics.


Chart 2 •  WM 3313  heritage.org