There’s an increase of about 1 per­cent in the non-​​accelerating infla­tion rate of unem­ploy­ment. So it’s around 6 per­cent rather than 5 per­cent,” says William Dickens, pro­fessor of eco­nomics and social policy at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity and former senior econ­o­mist for Bill Clinton’s Council of Eco­nomic Advisers.

This “non-​​accelerating rate” is known by econ­o­mists as the NAIRU. It’s a rel­a­tively obscure bit of eco­nomic jargon, but some econ­o­mists see it as one mea­sure of the nat­ural unem­ploy­ment rate. The idea is that below a par­tic­ular unem­ploy­ment rate, infla­tion starts to speed up. So by Dickens’ reck­oning, rising prices could become a worry as unem­ploy­ment edges toward 6 percent.


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