Region Focus Featured Article

May 5, 2010

Richmond Fed Publication Examines the Unemployment Situation

Richmond, Va.

Economists often speak of a "natural" rate of unemployment that the economy tends to gravitate toward over the long run. But if the natural rate has risen lately, as some economists suspect, then unemployment may not fall anytime soon to the levels seen before the recent downturn. The cover story of the latest issue of Region Focus surveys the debate over whether we should expect a “new normal” for labor markets in the future.

Also in this issue:

  • Consumption and Recessions. What has influenced previous patterns of consumption and how might that help inform expectations about future consumption trends?
  • Foreclosures and Neighborhoods. A historically large number of homes are vacant across the Fifth District. How to cope with the potentially deleterious effects these homes may have on some localities has become an important question for community leaders and policymakers.
  • The 2010 Census. Discover how the Census Bureau has been working to deal with the phenomenon of  historically "undercounting" some demographic groups.

Region Focus, a quarterly business magazine published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, covers the economy and business activities of the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and most of West Virginia.

For free copies of Region Focus, contact the Bank's Research Publications division at 800.322.0565. The articles are available online at

The Richmond Fed serves the Fifth Federal Reserve District, which includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and most of West Virginia. As part of the nation's central bank, we're one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that work together with the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors to strengthen the economy and our communities. We manage the nation's money supply to keep inflation low and help the economy grow. We also supervise and regulate financial institutions to help safeguard our nation's financial system and protect the integrity and efficiency of our payments system.


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