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Employer Wage Subsidy Caps and Part-Time Work
Hiring credits and employer wage subsidies are tools that policymakers have available to attempt to improve labor market conditions for workers. This study explores how capped-wage subsidies affect firms’ labor market decisions, in particular, their reliance on part-time and low-skill workers. We focus on the federal Empowerment Zone program, which offers firms in targeted areas a 20 percent wage subsidy (capped at $3,000 per year) for each employee who also resides in the Empowerment Zone. Results using different methods of identification suggest that firms respond to capped-wage subsidies ...
A Speeding Rate Starts to Slow: COVID-19 Mortality Rates by State
The cumulative COVID-19 mortality rate of the United States has doubled or more each week between February 29, 2020 and April 12, 2020. Thankfully, doubling has stopped in several states as of April 12, 2020. One of these states, Louisiana, had the third-highest COVID-19 mortality rate in the country. In the Cleveland Fed’s District,1 the growth in mortality rates has continued to slow in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, but not in Pennsylvania. However, in most states mortality rates are still rising rapidly—mortality rates doubled or more between April 5, 2020 and April 12, 2020 in 37 ...
Changes in the Occupational Structure of the United States: 1860 to 2015
This Commentary describes how the mix of occupations in which people have been employed in the United States has evolved over time. After 100 years of dramatic change, the mix of occupations has been more stable since 1970. This trend adds occupational structure to the growing list of ways our nation?s economy has become less dynamic in recent decades.
Demographic Trends Are Major Factors in Today’s Weak Labor Force Growth
The size of the US labor force declined by 2.3 million people between December 2019 and December 2021, sparking widespread debate about the underlying factors constraining labor supply. Broadly speaking, changes in the overall size of the labor force come from changes in labor force participation rates (LFPRs), changes in the demographic makeup of the population, and changes in the size of the population. Research has documented the role of changes in LFPRs, especially the jump in the number of retired people (Briggs, 2021; Faria e Castro, 2021; and Kaplan et al., 2021) and the drop in the ...
Manufacturing Wage Premiums Have Diverged between Production and Nonproduction Workers
A manufacturing wage premium is the average percentage difference between the wage a worker earns in manufacturing and the wage similar workers earn in industries other than manufacturing. Using standard wage regressions, we find that, between 1979 and 2018, the manufacturing wage premium declined much more for production workers (such as machine operators) than for nonproduction workers (such as managers or administrative assistants). As a result, the production-workers’ wage premium was 4 percent during 2015 to 2018, while the nonproduction-workers’ wage premium was 14 percent. The ...
Partially Disaggregated Household-level Debt Service Ratios: Construction and Validation
Currently published data series on the United States household debt service ratio are constructed from aggregate household debt data provided by lenders and estimates of the average interest rate and loan terms of a range of credit products. The approach used to calculate those debt service ratios could be prone to missing changes in loan terms. Better measurement of this important indicator of financial health can help policymakers anticipate and react to crises in household finance. We develop and estimate debt service ratio measures based on individual-level debt payments data obtained ...
Getting to Accuracy: Measuring COVID-19 by Mortality Rates and Percentage Changes
Comparing the trajectory of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States to that of other countries can provide important insights into how the virus is progressing in the United States and the effectiveness of our response. The quality of those insights depends on the data we choose to compare and how we conduct that comparison. This report argues that cumulative mortality rates and their percentage changes are the best available measures for comparing the trajectory of the epidemic in different countries. Based on these measures, the epidemic in the United States has a similar mortality rate ...
Does Spending Slide When COVID-19 Surges?
In this District Data Brief, we show that state-level data suggest that economic implications from the latest wave have been less than those from the fall 2020 wave. While there has been some consumer response to the delta-variant-driven COVID-19 surge, it has been weaker than the response to the fall 2020 COVID-19 surge.
Which Estimates of Metropolitan-Area Jobs Growth Should We Trust?
The earliest available source of metro-area employment numbers is the initial estimates of State and Metro-Area Employment, Hours, and Earnings (SAE) from the Current Employment Statistics program, but these figures are subject to large revisions. We show how large those revisions are for six metro areas and the four states in the Fourth Federal Reserve District. We also compare the precision of the initial estimates to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), which is less timely but more accurate. Our analysis confirms that the best approach for those wanting accurate metro-area ...