Erceg et al. (J Monet Econ 46:281313, 2000) introduce sticky wages in a New-Keynesian general-equilibrium model. Alternatively, it is shown here how wage stickiness may bring unemployment fluctuations into a New-Keynesian model. Using a Bayesian econometric approach, bothmodels are estimated with US quarterly data of the Great Moderation. Estimation results are similar in the two models and both provide a good empirical fit, with the crucial difference that our model delivers unemployment fluctuations. Thus, second-moment statistics of the US rate of unemployment are replicated reasonably well in our proposed New-Keynesian model with sticky wages. Demand-side shocks play a more important role than technology innovations or cost-push shock in explaining both output and unemployment fluctuations. In the welfare analysis, the cost of cyclical fluctuations during the Great Moderation is estimated at 0.60% of steady-state consumption.