Right here is a recent paper by Andreas Hornstein and Marianna Kudlyak, noting that when the authors write “present” they’re (have been) referring to pre-Covid instances:
Present unemployment, as of 2019Q4, is so low not due to unusually excessive job discovering charges out of unemployment, however due to unusually low entry charges into unemployment. The unusually low entry charges, each from employment and from out of the labor drive, replicate a long-run downward pattern, and have lowered the unemployment fee pattern over the current decade. In actual fact, the distinction between the present unemployment fee and unemployment charges on the two earlier cyclical peaks in 2000 and 2007 is greater than totally accounted for by the decline in its pattern. This implies that the present low unemployment fee doesn’t point out a labor market that’s tighter than in 2000 or 2007.
After all these outcomes have significance for the widespread view that we have to “run the labor market sizzling” to get again to a fascinating state of affairs. What we want is for the required changes to happen to revive a brand new and sustainable equilibrium.