Unemployment, Unsatisfied Demand for Labor, and Compensation Growth, 1956-1980
K. Abraham and J.L. Medoff ,
Workers, Jobs and Inflation, ed. by M.N. Baily. The Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., chap. -, pp. 49-88.

This paper presents two key facts which call into question the value of unemployment rates as barometers of labor market tightness. First, while both unemployment rates and unsatisfied labor demand proxies perform reasonably well on their own in compensation growth equations, in models which include both, only the unsatisfied demand variable appears to matter. Second, the past decade`s outward shifts in Phillips plots can to a substantial degree be tied to outward shifts in plots pairing the relevant unemployment rate and unsatisfied demand proxies.

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