The Phillips curve hypothesizes that there is a correlation between inflation and unemployment. When inflation is high, unemployment is low. Conversely, when inflation is low, unemployment levels increase. An increase in unemployment can help curb inflation, because the newly unemployed and their families tend to reduce their spending.
With greater slack in the labor market, employers don't need to increase salaries to compete for talent, which means that wage growth stagnates. Without the need to increase wages, companies can stop raising prices. According to economic theory, these trends should work together to curb inflation. One argument is that a period of high and volatile inflation discourages companies from investing.
Because inflation is high, companies are less sure that the investment will be profitable. It is argued that countries with higher inflation rates tend to have lower investment and, therefore, lower economic growth. Therefore, if there are low levels of investment, this could lead to higher unemployment in the long term. While inflation does not always lead to an increase in unemployment, it does rise and fall with the rate of inflation.
Therefore, unemployment does not change dramatically when there is a small fluctuation in inflation. However, if there is a large fluctuation in inflation rates, this affects unemployment levels. Countries that have experienced high rates of inflation have, in most cases, struggled with unemployment levels. For example, both Russia and Hungary experienced high rates of inflation during the 1920s and had higher than average unemployment rates.
As long as they are employed, people have the opportunity to keep up with inflation, even if prices rise. If this were true, increasing the number of people out of work would be a valid way of reducing prices in an economy. The amount of percentage points of annual production that would be lost by reducing inflation by 1% became known as the sacrifice ratio. However, if growth is already close to the long-term trend rate (2.5%) and there is no production gap, then an expansionary monetary policy that leads to an increase in inflation will be unsustainable and we will be exposed to experiencing a boom and a fall that will lead to an increase in unemployment.
Although unemployment increased due to the contraction of the money supply by the central bank, the hypothesis of rational expectations continued to have followers, both because unemployment did not increase as much as some had expected and because the public did not believe that Volcker would succeed in reducing the inflation rate, so his inflation expectations did not fall as much as desired. Rising domestic demand in Germany would help reduce the high unemployment rate in the eurozone. Expected inflation causes people to demand higher salaries so that their incomes keep up with inflation. In the early 1980s, Paul Volcker, who was president of the Federal Reserve, decided to reduce the money supply to combat inflation, to follow a policy of disinflation, which consists of reducing the rate of inflation.
But does inflation cause unemployment? There seems to be some correlation between them, since higher rates lead to higher levels of unemployment in the country. A sharp rise in interest rates can cause a fall in economic growth and cause recession and unemployment. An increase in aggregate demand can come both from increases in public spending, as seen here, and from increases in private sector investment. Many economists believe that unemployment should increase by 1% for every 1% reduction in the rate of inflation.
Consequently, how quickly the unemployment rate returns to its natural rate will depend on how quickly people change their expectations of future inflation. This is because demand for products and services increases, leading companies to increase their production and, in general, they need more workers. But do these economic indicators move in tandem? In this blog post, we'll explore the relationship between inflation and unemployment and ask ourselves if one affects the other, or to what extent,. .