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Author:Bram, Jason 

Discussion Paper
How Is Online Shopping Affecting Retail Employment?

It?s been said that if you want to know how the economy is doing, look at how many people are carrying shopping bags. That adage may not hold so well today. The rise of the internet and e-commerce over the past two decades has chipped away at the market share of ?brick and mortar? retailers. But it?s only been in the past few years that this shift in market share has had a noteworthy effect on retail employment. In this post, we focus on national and local employment trends in two categories of retail?department stores and nonstore retailers?and try to assess how the surge in online shopping ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20171005

Discussion Paper
Beginning to Gauge Maria’s Effect on Puerto Rico’s Economy

Just two weeks after most of Puerto Rico dodged the proverbial bullet, missing the brunt of Hurricane Irma, the island was devastated by Maria?one of the ten strongest Atlantic hurricanes on record. Making landfall on September 20, 2017, the storm caused not only massive physical destruction and tragic loss of life but also widespread and persistent power outages, shortages of potable (and even nonpotable) running water, and disruptions to telecommunications and travel, among other issues. With the storm boosting costs and disrupting activity, the short-term economic impact is clearly ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20180112

Discussion Paper
U.S. Virgin Islands' Economy Hit Hard by Irma and Maria

In the ten months that have passed since Hurricanes Irma and Maria ravaged the Caribbean, much interest has been focused on Puerto Rico and its roughly 3.3 million American citizens, who weathered the largest blackout in U.S. history. However, far less attention has been paid to the U.S. Virgin Islands, even though St. Thomas, St. Croix, St. John, and a number of smaller islands suffered comparable devastation. This is partly attributable to their much smaller population: the U.S. Virgin Islands (?Virgin Islands?) is home to roughly 105,000 people?1/30th Puerto Rico?s population. Even so, ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20180709

Discussion Paper
Puerto Rico Post-Maria: Twelve Months of Hardship

Puerto Rico recently observed the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria?the most destructive storm to hit the Commonwealth since the San Felipe Segundo hurricane in 1928. Maria, combined with Hurricane Irma, which had glanced the island about two weeks prior, is estimated to have caused nearly 3,000 deaths and tens of billions of dollars of physical damage. Millions went without power for weeks, in most cases months. Basic services?water, sewage, telecommunications, medical care, schools?suffered massive disruptions. While it is difficult to assign a cost to all the suffering endured by ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20180928a

Discussion Paper
Minimum Wage Impacts along the New York-Pennsylvania Border

The federal minimum wage, currently set at $7.25 per hour, has remained unchanged for the longest stretch of time since its 1938 inception under the Fair Labor Standards Act. With the real purchasing power of the federal minimum wage eroded by inflation, many states and municipalities have raised their local minimum wages. As of July 2019, fourteen states plus the District of Columbia?home to 35 percent of Americans?have minimum wages above $10 per hour, as do numerous localities scattered across other states. New York is among a handful of states?along with California, Connecticut, Illinois, ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20190925

Discussion Paper
U.S. Virgin Islands Struggle while Puerto Rico Rebounds

Two years after hurricanes Irma and Maria wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the two territories? economies have moved in very different directions. When the hurricanes struck, both were already in long economic slumps and had significant fiscal problems. As of the summer of 2019, however, Puerto Rico?s economy was showing considerable signs of improvement since the hurricanes, while the Virgin Islands? economy remained mired in a deep slump through the end of 2018, though signs of a nascent recovery have emerged in 2019. In this post, we assess the contrasting trends ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20191002

Discussion Paper
Businesses in the Tri-State Region Struggling to Weather the Coronavirus Outbreak

As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, New York State, New Jersey, and Connecticut have closed nonessential businesses and schools and asked residents to stay home in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. These actions are unprecedented, and the economic impacts are likely to be temporary but severe, and difficult to track and measure. With conditions changing so rapidly, timely data on the economic impacts of the outbreak and resultant policies on businesses and people are both scarce and important. In this post, we provide some very recent information on the economic effects of the ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200330a

Discussion Paper
The Coronavirus Shock Looks More like a Natural Disaster than a Cyclical Downturn

It’s tempting to compare the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic to prior business cycle downturns, particularly the Great Recession. However, such comparisons may not be particularly apt—as evidenced by the unprecedented surge in initial jobless claims over the past three weeks. Recessions typically develop gradually over time, reflecting underlying economic and financial conditions, whereas the current economic situation developed suddenly as a consequence of a fast-moving global pandemic. A more appropriate comparison would be to a regional economy suffering the effects of a ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200410a

Discussion Paper
New York Fed Surveys: Business Activity in the Region Sees Historic Plunge in April

Indicators of regional business activity plunged to historic lows in early April, as efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus kept many people at home and shut down large parts of the regional economy, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s two business surveys. The headline index for both surveys plummeted to nearly -80, well below any historical precedent including the depths of the Great Recession. About 60 percent of service firms and more than half of manufacturers reported at least a partial shutdown of their operations thus far. Layoffs were widespread, with half of ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200416a

Discussion Paper
Translating Weekly Jobless Claims into Monthly Net Job Losses

News headlines highlighting the loss of at least 30 million jobs (so far) underscore the massive shock that has hit the U.S. economy and the dislocation, hardship, and stress it has caused for so many American workers. But how accurately does this number actually capture the number of net job losses? In this post, we look at some of the statistical anomalies and quirks in the weekly claims series and offer a guide to interpreting these numbers. What we find is that the relationship between jobless claims and payroll employment for the month can vary substantially, depending on the nature, ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200507a

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