Understanding the recent behavior of U.S. inflation
One of the most surprising features of the long current expansion has been the decline in price inflation through the late 1990s. Some observers interpret the decline as evidence of a permanent change in the relationship between inflation and economic growth. But an analysis based on a standard forecasting model suggests that conventional economic factors_most notably, a decrease in import prices_can account for the low inflation rates in recent years.
The relationship between expected inflation, disagreement, and uncertainty: evidence from matched point and density forecasts
This paper examines matched point and density forecasts of inflation from the Survey of Professional Forecasters to analyze the relationship between expected inflation, disagreement, and uncertainty. We extend previous studies through our data construction and estimation methodology. Specifically, we derive measures of disagreement and uncertainty by using a decomposition proposed in earlier research by Wallis and by applying the concept of entropy from information theory. We also undertake the empirical analysis within a seemingly unrelated regression framework. Our results offer mixed ...
How does slack influence inflation?
Economists have long studied the relationship between resource utilization and inflation. Theory suggests that when firms use labor and capital very intensively, production costs tend to rise and firms have more scope to pass those cost increases along in the form of higher product prices. In contrast, when that level of intensity is relatively low?that is, when the economy is operating with slack?production costs tend to rise more slowly (or even fall) and firms have less scope for raising prices. Empirical evidence, however, has varied concerning the exact nature of the relationship between ...
How Aggregation Matters for Measured Wage Growth
Wage growth is often measured by the change in average hourly earnings (AHE), a gauge of overall wages that aggregates information on earnings and hours worked across individuals. A close look at this aggregation method demonstrates that AHE growth reflects disproportionately the profile of high-earning workers who typically display lower and less cyclically sensitive wage growth. Using data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), we adopt a different aggregation method and compute wage growth as the average of individuals’ wage growth. The analysis indicates that the CPS measure of ...
Pandemic Pushed the U.S. into Recession … and Hourly Wages Rose?
The onset of COVID-19 in spring 2020 prompted an unprecedented rapid rise in the unemployment rate. However, a popular and widely cited wage measure—average hourly earnings (AHE)—rose sharply as the health crisis grew.
Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics 2019 Conference Summary
To provide insights into the processes that drive inflationary dynamics, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland holdsan annual conference on the topic of inflation: “Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics.” This Commentary summarizes thepapers presented at the 2019 conference.
Structural change in U.S. wage determination
This paper provides an empirical investigation into the determinants and stability of the aggregate wage inflation process in the United States over the 1967-2000 period. Using compensation per hour as the measure of wages, we specify a Phillips curve model that links wage growth to its past values as well as to the unemployment rate, price inflation, labor productivity growth, and an additional set of labor market variables. The results do not reject the hypothesis that real wages and labor productivity move proportionally in the long run. More important, endogenous structural break tests ...
All Forecasters Are Not the Same: Time-Varying Predictive Ability across Forecast Environments
This paper examines data from the European Central Bank’s Survey of Professional Forecasters to investigate whether participants display equal predictive performance. We use panel data models to evaluate point- and density-based forecasts of real GDP growth, inflation, and unemployment. The results document systematic differences in participants’ forecast accuracy that are not time invariant, but instead vary with the difficulty of the forecasting environment. Specifically, we find that some participants display higher relative accuracy in tranquil environments, while others display ...
Two new indexes offer a broad view of economic activity in the New York - New Jersey region
The authors develop two coincident indexes that provide a comprehensive measure of economic activity in New Jersey, New York State, and New York City.
Leading economic indexes for New York State and New Jersey
The authors develop indexes of leading economic indicators for New York State and New Jersey over the 1972-99 period. They find that the leading indexes convey useful information about the future course of economic activity in both states. The authors then construct separate indexes to forecast recessions and expansions in each state. The movements of the recession and expansion indexes are found to display a close relationship with the behavior of the leading indexes. Accordingly, the recession and expansion indexes allow the authors to extend the informational content of the leading indexes ...