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Press Release

Cleveland Fed researchers reassess the Beveridge curve “shift” in the US labor market

Early on in the current recovery, job vacancies were rising, but the unemployment rate was not declining. This suggested to some observers that a worrisome shift was occurring in the Beveridge curve—an empirical relationship between job openings and unemployment that is viewed as a measure of the efficiency with which the labor market is matching unemployed workers with available openings. But what seemed like a shift in the Beveridge curve ended up being another manifestation of the “normal” dynamics of unemployment and job vacancies in the United States, according to Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland researchers Murat Tasci and Jessica Ice.

Most of the arguments for a shift were based on data from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), which had only started measuring economy-wide job openings in December 2000.  Examining an alternative data source that went back to the 1950s, Tasci concluded four years ago that the Beveridge curve behavior we were seeing was typical of recoveries in general, and that the curve would likely follow its historical business-cycle pattern going forward.

More recent data on job openings confirm Tasci’s earlier findings: Firms gradually adjusted to the recovery and raised their demand for labor. The researchers note that job openings increased by 59 percent since 2010, based on JOLTS data.

Read Reassessing the Beveridge Curve “Shift” Four Years Later

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.218.1892