This lesson explores the relationship of unemployment to inflation in the 1960s and after. Students will discover the short-run trade-off between inflation and unemployment when unemployment is less than its natural rate. Students will learn how wage setters formed adaptive expectations about future inflation and included these in their wage demands. At the conclusion of this lesson, students will be able to graph and analyze the effects of a policy to hold unemployment below its natural rate. The goal is for students to see the link between the Phillips Curve and the short-run aggregate supply curve.
Students learn the meaning and measurement of six important economic indicators and use the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank National Economic Trends website to assess the current state of the economy.
Economics is often called the "science of decision making." The decisions that economists analyze range from personal decisions such as how big a pizza to order or whether to buy or lease a new car to the decisions the federal government makes about things like the size of our military. Economists use information about these, and other decisions, to develop indicators that can be used to determine the health of our economy. Just as a physician relies on indicators such as temperature, blood pressure and heart rate to determine the health of a patient, economists use indicators like gross domestic product growth, the unemployment rate and the rate of inflation to predict our nation's economic health.