Anatomia di una ripresa lenta

BERKELEY – Negli anni tra il 1950 e il 1990, quando la Federal Reserve americana ricorreva a recessioni programmate per combattere l'inflazione, il tasso di disoccupazione statunitense scendeva in media del 32,4% nel corso dell'anno successivo alla recessione, riavvicinandosi così al suo tasso naturale. Se la disoccupazione americana avesse seguito questo andamento dopo il suo picco nella seconda metà del 2009, ora si attesterebbe all'8,3%, piuttosto che all’8,9%.

Sfortunatamente, la riduzione netta del tasso di disoccupazione americano avvenuta durante lo scorso anno non è per niente dovuta ad un aumento nel rapporto tra occupati e popolazione, bensì è stata interamente causata da un declino nella partecipazione alla forza lavoro. Mentre la disoccupazione nel corso degli ultimi 18 mesi scendeva, partendo da un picco del 10,1%, il rapporto tra occupati e popolazione rimaneva fermo al 58,4%. Probabilmente sarebbe meglio se i disoccupati che avrebbero potuto effettivamente trovare un lavoro in condizione di piena occupazione lo stessero attivamente cercando, ma invece stanno abbandonando la forza lavoro.

In questo senso, tra il 1950 e il 1990 il rapporto tra occupati e popolazione è cresciuto mediamente dello 0,227% per ogni anno in cui il tasso di disoccupazione è stato superiore al suo tasso naturale. Se il rapporto tra occupati e popolazione avesse seguito questo andamento anche dopo il picco del 2009, il valore attuale sarebbe del 59,7% piuttosto che del 58,4% (e, in tal caso, ci troveremmo nel pieno di un bom economico invece che nelle attuali condizioni di difficoltà).

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