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Municipal Debt Markets and the COVID-19 Pandemic
In March, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the market for municipal securities was severely stressed: mutual fund redemptions sparked unprecedented selling of municipal securities, yields increased sharply, and issuance dried up. In this post, we describe the evolution of municipal bond market conditions since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. We show that conditions in municipal markets have improved significantly, in part a result of the announcement and implementation of several Federal Reserve facilities. Yields have decreased substantially, mutual funds ...
Job Training Mismatch and the COVID-19 Recovery: A Cautionary Note from the Great Recession
Displaced workers have been shown to endure persistent losses years beyond their initial job separation events. These losses are especially amplified during recessions. (1) One explanation for greater persistence in downturns relative to booms, is that firms and industries on the margin of structural change permanently shift the types of tasks and occupations demanded after a large negative shock (Aghion et al. (2005)), but these new occupations do not match the stock of human capital held by those currently displaced. In response to COVID-19, firms with products and services that complement ...
Finally, Some Signs of Improvement in the Regional Economy
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s June business surveys show some signs of improvement in the regional economy. Following two months of unprecedented decline due to the coronavirus pandemic, indicators of business activity point to a slower pace of contraction in the service sector and signs of a rebound in the manufacturing sector. Even more encouraging, as the regional economy has begun to reopen, many businesses have started to recall workers who were laid off or put on furlough since the start of the pandemic. Some have even hired new workers. Moreover, businesses expect to recall ...
Helping State and Local Governments Stay Liquid
On April 9, the Federal Reserve announced up to $2.3 trillion in new support for the economy in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Among the initiatives is the Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF), intended to support state and local governments. The details of the facility are described in the term sheet. The state and local sector is a unique but very important part of the economy. This post lays out some of the economics of the sector and the needs that the facility intends to satisfy.
COVID Response: The Municipal Liquidity Facility
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, state and local governments were among the sectors expected to experience the most severe distress. The combination of a sharply deteriorating revenue picture, a pressing need for additional expenditures, delays in the receipt of substantial taxes owed, and an inability to access the financial markets raised serious concerns among many observers about the ability of state and local governments to meet their public service delivery responsibilities. In April 2020, the Federal Reserve announced the establishment of the Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF) to ...
The Option Value of Municipal Liquidity: Evidence from Federal Lending Cutoffs during COVID-19
We estimate the option value of municipal liquidity by studying bond market activity and public sector hiring decisions when government budgets are severely distressed. Using a regression discontinuity (RD) design, we exploit lending eligibility population cutoffs introduced by the federal sector’s Municipal Liquidity Facility (MLF) to study the effects of an emergency liquidity option on yields, primary debt issuance, and public sector employment. We find that while the announcement of the liquidity option improved overall municipal bond market functioning, lower-rated issuers additionally ...