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Author:Kelley, David 

Newsletter
Which Leading Indicators Have Done Better at Signaling Past Recessions?

In this article, I analyze a broad range of leading indicators?economic or financial data series that change in advance of the rest of the economy?to see which ones have done better at signaling past U.S. recessions.1 I also use these leading indicators to form a new index that outperforms existing leading indexes and the Treasury yield curve at signaling historical downturns.
Chicago Fed Letter

Newsletter
A “Big Data” View of the U.S. Economy: Introducing the Brave-Butters-Kelley Indexes

We describe a new set of indexes?the Brave-Butters-Kelley Indexes (BBKI)?constructed from a large panel of monthly macroeconomic time series and quarterly real gross domestic product (GDP) growth. Through August, these indexes suggest that real GDP growth was somewhat below its long-run trend to start the third quarter and that its business cycle component had declined noticeably in recent months despite some indications of improvement in its leading indicators.
Chicago Fed Letter

Newsletter
What Does Labor Market Tightness Tell Us About the End of an Expansion?

We use a model based on the historical relationships between unemployment, inflation, and recessions, along with the Summary of Economic Projections (SEP) from the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC),1 to examine the medium-term implications of current and projected unemployment rates for the U.S. economy. Our model predicts a low probability of a recession in the next two to three years based on SEP forecasts for additional labor market tightening over this horizon.
Chicago Fed Letter

Working Paper
Why Does the Yield-Curve Slope Predict Recessions?

Why is an inverted yield-curve slope such a powerful predictor of future recessions? We show that a decomposition of the yield curve slope into its expectations and risk premia components helps disentangle the channels that connect fluctuations in Treasury rates and the future state of the economy. In particular, a change in the yield curve slope due to a monetary policy easing, measured by the current real-interest rate level and its expected path, is associated with an increase in the probability of a future recession within the next year. In contrast, a decrease in risk premia is ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2018-15

Newsletter
Is There Still Slack in the Labor Market?

Based on recent population and labor force projections, we estimate that payroll employment remained about one million jobs below its trend as of April 2016. Given an average pace of roughly 200,000 jobs added per month so far this year, this implies that labor market slack is likely to persist until late 2016. Considerable uncertainty surrounds this estimate, however, especially with respect to labor force trends. An alternative calculation that assumes a steeper decline in trend labor force participation driven by shifting demographics suggests that slack could persist for up to an ...
Chicago Fed Letter

Journal Article
A New “Big Data” Index of U.S. Economic Activity

The authors present a new ?big data? index of U.S. economic activity that can be used to track business and inflation cycles in real time and estimate monthly real gross domestic product growth.
Economic Perspectives , Issue 1 , Pages 1-30

Newsletter
Why Does the Yield-Curve Slope Predict Recessions?

Many studies document the predictive power of the slope of the Treasury yield curve for forecasting recessions.2 This work is motivated, for example, by the empirical evidence in figure 1, which shows the term-structure slope, measured by the spread between the yields on ten-year and two-year U.S. Treasury securities, and shading that denotes U.S. recessions (dated by the National Bureau of Economic Research). Note that the yield-curve slope becomes negative before each economic recession since the 1970s.3 That is, an ?inversion? of the yield curve, in which short-maturity interest rates ...
Chicago Fed Letter

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