This is a common question, and I suggest using the Atalanta Fed’s Jobs Calculator tool to estimate how many jobs per month will be needed to reach a certain unemployment level.
As an example, for the unemployment rate to decline to 7.3% in December (the high end of the Fed’s forecast), with the participation rate staying steady at 63.4%, would require about 150,000 jobs per month for the next seven months. This seems very possible.
If the participation rate increases to 63.6%, than the economy would need to add 210,000 jobs per month for the unemployment rate to fall to 7.3% in December (this is just an estimate).
You can put in your own assumptions to the calculator.
Another frequent question is when will the unemployment rate fall to 6.5% (the Fed’s threshold, but not trigger, for raising the Fed’s funds rate). If the participation rate stays steady, the unemployment rate will fall to 6.5% in December 2014 if the economy adds around 185,000 jobs per month. This is consistent with the Fed not raising rates until 2015 or later.
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