I do admire the way in which the USA has been able to have a steadily falling equilibrium unemployment rate since 1984 through thick and thin. The Great Recession had no impact on the US equilibrium unemployment rate. Not only has the largest member been able to do this, the OECD host country (red squares) has had a pretty steady natural unemployment rate too all things considered.
The Labour Party wants the New Zealand labour market to be more like that in Denmark. The early 1990s recession New Zealand aside, New Zealand has always had a lower equilibrium unemployment rate than Denmark.
Unlike the USA, the German, Italian, British and French equilibrium unemployment rates all show fluctuations that reflect changes in their underlying economic circumstances and labour market reforms. The case of the British, the rise of the British disease and Thatchernomics. The case of German, its equilibrium unemployment rate rose after German unification and then fell after the labour market reforms of 2002 to 2005.
As I recall, most unemployed have been unemployed longer than 12 months in Sweden have to go on a labour market program. When they returned to unemployment after the program, the clock starts again. They are deemed to be freshly unemployed rather than adding to the previous spell with an interlude on a make work program. This makes Swedish long-term unemployment data rather unintelligible.
Source: OECD StatExtract.
Finland was recovering from its worst depression since the 1930s and the early 1990s when its data on long-term unemployment started to be continuous. This makes Finnish unemployment data rather difficult to interpret. Norway’s data for the long-term unemployed goes up and down a bit too much to be trustworthy without a background policy narrative.
As the British labour market and long-term unemployment was starting to get something like that in the USA, the USA started to have unemployment it was more like the European labour markets in terms of the number of long-term unemployed. Nothing much happened in Germany and France.
There has been bit of a wild ride in long-term unemployment in New Zealand. Long-term unemployment – longer than one year – ranging from just over 8% of unemployment in 1986 to nearly 40% in 1992 then down to 5% in 2008. Clearly the duration of unemployment in New Zealand is highly sensitive to the business cycle unlike the case in the USA or UK.
Source: OECD StatExtract.
This sensitivity of long-term unemployment to the business cycle does not bode well for the hypothesis of hysteresis where human capital depreciates the longer a jobseeker is out of employment. For this hypothesis to hold, there must be some enduring aspect of long-term unemployment rather than just going up and down with the business cycle rather noticeably.
In contrast to the USA, there is been a long-term decline in long-term unemployment, that is unemployment of more than a year, in the British economy over the 1990s. The situation then stabilised and then increased after the global financial crisis. There is also a rather rapid fall in long-term unemployment in the mid-1980s as the British economy recovered under Thatchernomics