A Latent Variable Approach to Forecasting the Unemployment Rate

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 19/09

Date: July 2009


Chew Lian Chua
G. C. Lim
Sarantis Tsiaplias


A forecasting model for unemployment is constructed that exploits the time-series properties of unemployment while satisfying the economic relationships specified by Okun’s law and the Phillips curve. In deriving the model, we jointly consider the problem of obtaining estimates of the unobserved potential rate of unemployment consistent with Okun’s law and Phillips curve, and associating the potential rate of unemployment to actual unemployment. The empirical example shows that the model clearly outperforms alternative forecasting procedures typically used to forecast unemployment.

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