Working Paper. With Catalina Sandoval-Alvarado.
This article provides a set of labor market slackness indicators for Costa Rica. First, we provide an estimation of the NAIRU rate using a linear state-space model featuring a Phillips curve to capture the underlining relationship between inflation and unemployment. Next, we compute the natural rate of unemployment under the premise that the flow origins of the unemployment rate determine unemployment fluctuations and trends. Lastly, we compute an efficient unemployment rate, an unemployment level that maximizes welfare and that considers the unemployment-vacancy trade-off governed by the Beveridge curve. The three estimators coincide in showing positive employment gaps during the last decade, which translates to excess capacity at the aggregate level. Although the pandemic exacerbated the gaps, the results point that the unemployment rate has been converging to its natural rate, which is higher than its pre-pandemic level.