During the 1990s economic expansion, the United States enjoyed both low inflation and low unemployment. Juhn, Murphy, and Topel (2002) point out that low unemployment for men in the 1990s was accompanied by historically high non-employment suggesting that the 1990s economy was not as strong as unemployment might indicate. We include women in the analysis and examine whether Phillips curve relationships between real compensation growth, changes in inflation, and labor market slackness are the same for men and women and whether measures of “non-employment” better capture underlying labor resource utilization. From 1965 to 2002 the increase in women’s labor force participation more than offsets the decline for men, and low unemployment rates in the 1990s were accompanied by historically low overall non-employment rates. We find that women’s measures of labor market slackness do as well as men’s in explaining real compensation growth and changes in inflation after 1983.
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