The impact of oil prices on economic activity
Using federal funds futures rates to predict Federal Reserve actions
The federal funds futures rate naturally embodies the market's expectation of the average behavior of the federal funds rate. But, as John C. Robertson and Daniel L. Thornton explain, analysts cannot attempt to identify Fed policy from the behavior of the federal funds futures rate without making somewhat arbitrary additional assumptions. The authors investigate the predictive accuracy of a rule based on the federal funds futures rate from October 1988 through August 1997 using an assumption that is sufficient for partially identifying when the market is expecting a Fed action but not for ...
Amid the COVID-19 Crisis, a Tale of Two Cities
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in both a major public health crisis and a major economic crisis. The economic impact is coming primarily via social distancing (or stay-in-place) restrictions that have resulted in the temporary closing of nonessential businesses in many parts of the country. As a result, millions of workers have been laid off or furloughed. Unemployment claims for the week ending March 21 totaled more than 3 million—the highest number of seasonally adjusted initial claims in the history of the series at that time. That record was broken quickly. For the week ending March ...
Housing, energy loom large in '07
As they did in 2006, the energy and housing markets will be among the dominant factors shaping the national economy in 2007.
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Improving forecasts of the federal funds rate in a policy model
Vector autoregression (VAR) models are widely used for policy analysis. Some authors caution, however, that the forecast errors of the federal funds rate from such a VAR are large compared to those from the federal funds futures market. From these findings, it is argued that the inaccurate federal funds rate forecasts from VARs limit their usefulness as a tool for guiding policy decisions. In this paper, we demonstrate that the poor forecast performance is largely eliminated if a Bayesian estimation technique is used instead of OLS. In particular, using two different data sets we show that ...
Earnings on the information technology roller coaster: insight from matched employer-employee data
This paper uses matched employer-employee data for the state of Georgia to examine workers? earnings experience through the information technology (IT) sector?s employment boom of the mid-1990s and its bust in the early 2000s. The results show that even after controlling for individual characteristics before the sector?s boom, transitioning out of the IT sector to a non-IT industry generally resulted in a large wage penalty. However, IT service workers who transitioned to a non-IT industry still fared better than those who took a non-IT employment path. For IT manufacturing workers, there is ...
Forecasting using relative entropy
The paper describes a relative entropy procedure for imposing moment restrictions on simulated forecast distributions from a variety of models. Starting from an empirical forecast distribution for some variables of interest, the technique generates a new empirical distribution that satisfies a set of moment restrictions. The new distribution is chosen to be as close as possible to the original in the sense of minimizing the associated Kullback-Leibler Information Criterion, or relative entropy. The authors illustrate the technique by using several examples that show how restrictions from ...
High-growth firms in Georgia
This paper reports the results of a study of the characteristics and direct employment impact of high-growth firms operating in Georgia. The longitudinal data used in this study are from the National Establishment Time-Series (NETS) database. Using a standard definition of high employment growth to classify firms, we track the direct employment contribution of high-growth firms in the state from 1989 to 2009. We find that only a small fraction of firms satisfied the high-growth employment criteria in any year, but these rapidly growing firms made a disproportionately large contribution to ...
Outlook mixed for Southeast and nation in 2003