The Persistent Effects of the Temporary Tightening in Financial Conditions
Market-based measures of uncertainty, a common proxy for broader financial conditions, rose sharply in the fourth quarter of 2018 but have retreated to more normal levels over the last few months. While the recent increase in uncertainty was brief, the temporary tightening in financial conditions will likely have longer-lasting effects on economic activity and prices.
Introducing the KC Fed Economic Bulletin
The Macro Bulletin has a new name and focus. The publication's editor-in-chief, Willem Van Zandweghe, introduces the KC Fed Economic Bulletin and discusses the publication?s expanded scope
The Outlook for Farmland Values amid Higher Interest Rates
In 2018, the spread between returns to farmland owners and benchmark interest rates narrowed to its lowest level in more than a decade in the Tenth Federal Reserve District. At the same time, farmland sales increased in some states for the first time in several years. Together, the reduced spread and indications of increased sales in some regions suggest the potential for lower farmland values moving forward.
Escaping the Housing Shortage
Despite the continuing economic expansion, home construction remains extremely low by historical benchmarks, constrained by the scarcity of undeveloped land in desired locations and land use regulations. Escaping the resulting housing shortage will take many years and likely require a shift toward multifamily construction, the freeing up of single-family homes by downsizing baby boomers, and the faster relative growth of medium-sized metropolitan areas.
Drilling Productivity in the United States: What Lies Beneath
We construct new measures of drilling productivity and find that productivity increased sixfold from the mid-2000s to early 2017. Gains in below-ground efficiency?the number of barrels produced per foot of drilled wells?have largely driven this increase in overall productivity. The large oil price declines during the Great Recession and from 2014 to 2016 also played a role. However, further large increases in productivity are unlikely absent additional improvements in technology or a subsequent large downturn in oil prices.
As Manufacturing Weakens, Consumers Pull Back
The United States has faced two recent downturns in manufacturing: one from 2014 to 2015 and one that has been ongoing since 2018. We examine consumption growth at the state level to see how consumers have responded to the current downturn relative to the last. We find that during the current downturn, changes in consumption growth at the state level have been negatively correlated with the state?s share of workers in manufacturing. In contrast, we find the opposite relationship during the 2014?15 downturn.
Rural Hospital Closures and Growth in Employment and Wages
Since 2011, 74 hospitals have closed in rural counties isolated from larger towns. I evaluate the implications for employment and aggregate wage growth in these counties and find that hospital closures are associated with substantially lower annual growth in county employment and aggregate wages. Smaller counties with a greater share of hospital employment in total employment may see the most severe economic outcomes.
How Have Banks Responded to Declining Reserve Balances?
Reserve balances have declined by more than $1 trillion since 2014, leading banks to increase their holdings of other high-quality assets to meet liquidity requirements. However, the composition of these assets varies substantially across banks, suggesting the drivers of demand for reserves are not uniform.
Rainy Day Funds Have Grown as State Tax Revenue Strengthens
Many state governments have seen solid growth in their tax revenues over the past couple of years. We show that recent changes in the federal tax code contributed to the uptick in state revenues. In addition, we show that states have used the recent revenue windfall to build up rainy day funds at a much faster pace than they did before the Great Recession.
Assessing the Risk of Extreme Unemployment Outcomes
Although the unemployment rate is at a historically low level, many policymakers are nevertheless watching projections for the future unemployment rate closely to evaluate the risk of extreme outcomes. We assess the probabilities of extreme outcomes in the near and medium term and find that the risk of unexpectedly high unemployment three years in the future has declined from its Great Recession peak and remained low over the past three years.