Alternatives to Libor in consumer mortgages
Many adjustable rate mortgages in the United States are indexed to Libor. While the accuracy of this rate has recently been called into question, another issue affecting U.S. borrowers has become evident since the onset of the financial crisis. Specifically, many U.S. consumers with Libor-based loans may have been hit with substantially higher payments when their loans reset during the financial crisis than if those loans had been tied to a Treasury rate. We investigate several alternative reference rates for consumer loans and estimate their payment effects on a large sample of Libor-linked ...
The effects of minimum wages on the distribution of family incomes: a nonparametric analysis
The primary goal of a national minimum wage floor is to raise the incomes of poor families with members in the work force. We present evidence on the effects of minimum wages on family incomes from March CPS surveys. Using non-parametric estimates of the distributions of family income relative to needs in states and years with and without minimum wage increases, we examine the effects of minimum wages on this distribution, and on the distribution of the changes in income that families experience. Although minimum wages do increase the incomes of some poor families, the evidence indicates that ...
Paths to prosperity: knowledge is key for Fourth District states
Even as per capita income has increased across the United States, differences among states? incomes remain. What are the sources of these remaining differences? This Commentary identifies and analyzes the key factors?patents, educational attainment, and industry structure?that influence income-growth rates and thus per capita incomes. It also explores where the Fourth District falls in relation to other states and the country as a whole.
Understanding the persistence of poverty
Millions of U.S. citizens continue to live in poverty within one of the wealthiest and most productive nations in the world. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland's 2006 Annual Report reviews some of the reasons for the persistence of poverty in America and suggests that better education and training may be the best defense against poverty.
The effects of minimum wages throughout the wage distribution
Workers initially earning near the minimum wage are adversely affected by minimum wage increases, while, not surprisingly, higher-wage workers are little affected. Although the pay of low-wage workers increases, their hours and employment decline, and the combined effect of these changes is a decline in earned income.
Measuring total employment: are a few million workers important?
How can we measure total employment in the economy? The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides two different-and sometimes contradictory-measures of this key indicator. During the 1990s, the gap between the two measures has widened to more than five million workers. This Economic Commentary examines the current discrepancy between the two measures of employment and explores its significance in interpreting our economy's health.
Unemployment, labor costs, and recessions: implications for the inflation outlook
Economists have been arguing about the connection between unemployment and infl ation for decades. Critics claim that the connection is unreliable and leads policymakers astray, while others argue that the relationship is useful for forecasting. We examine the more direct connections between elevated unemployment levels and the rate of increase in wage and labor costs, more generally. We fi nd that wage and labor cost growth has declined markedly following recent recessions. It has again declined sharply in the most recent recession. We also fi nd that compensation typically remains subdued ...
State employment 1995: slowing to a recession?
An appraisal of the health of the national economy based on the final state employment figures for 1995. The authors find that although employment growth has tapered off throughout the United States, there is no definitive evidence of a national recession in the near term.
Ready, willing, and able? measuring labour availability in the UK
The unemployment rate is commonly assumed to measure labour availability, but this ignores the fact that potential workers frequently come from outside the current set of labour market participants, the so-called inactive. The UK Longitudinal Labour Force Survey includes information that can be used to predict impending employment transitions. Using this unique dataset, new measures of labour availability, and indicators based on the more familiar unemployment rate alternatives, can be constructed and are reported here. The micro and macroeconomic performance of these labour force ...
Firms' wage adjustments: a break from the past?
The authors examine 39 years of wage data for workers in mobile occupations within a set of employers in three midwestern cities. They study wage changes during years of rising, falling, and steady inflation to identify regularities that could broaden understanding of the inflationary process at the micro level.