Okuns Law over the Business Cycle: Was the Great Recession All That Different? Academic Article uri icon


  • In 1962, Arthur Okun posited an empirical relationship between the change in the unemployment rate and real output growth. Since then, the media, policymakers, pundits, and intermediate macro students have used the so-called Okun's law as a rule of thumb to relate changes in unemployment to changes in output growth. However, some studies have suggested that the relationship has not been stable over time. Furthermore, the slow recovery of U.S. unemployment relative to output after the Great Recession has led some to question whether Okun's law has changed permanently. In this light, the authors reconsider the evidence on instability in Okun's law and, in particular, examine whether the Great Recession has contributed to the breakdown of the empirical relationship. 2012, The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

published proceedings

  • Review

author list (cited authors)

  • Owyang, M. T., & Sekhposyan, T.

citation count

  • 72

complete list of authors

  • Owyang, Michael T||Sekhposyan, Tatevik

publication date

  • September 2012