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Jel Classification:E27 

Briefing
The Michigan Surveys of Consumers and consumer spending

We provide summary measures for a broad set of questions from the Michigan Surveys of Consumers. These measures summarize consumers' attitudes and expectations with respect to income, wealth, prices, and interest rates. They contain information that goes beyond the information captured by the Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, which is constructed from five questions in the same survey. We show that the summary measures have some explanatory power for aggregate consumption behavior over the period from 1987 to the present, even when controlling for economic fundamentals. The explanatory ...
Public Policy Brief

Working Paper
Forecasting Consumption Spending Using Credit Bureau Data

This paper considers whether the inclusion of information contained in consumer credit reports might improve the predictive accuracy of forecasting models for consumption spending. To investigate the usefulness of aggregate consumer credit information in forecasting consumption spending, this paper sets up a baseline forecasting model. Based on this model, a simulated real-time, out-of-sample exercise is conducted to forecast one-quarter ahead consumption spending. The exercise is run again after the addition of credit bureau variables to the model. Finally, a comparison is made to test ...
Working Papers , Paper 20-22

Working Paper
The Accuracy of Forecasts Prepared for the Federal Open Market Committee

We analyze forecasts of consumption, nonresidential investment, residential investment, government spending, exports, imports, inventories, gross domestic product, inflation, and unemployment prepared by the staff of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee from 1997 to 2008, called the Greenbooks. We compare the root mean squared error, mean absolute error, and the proportion of directional errors of Greenbook forecasts of these macroeconomic indicators to the errors from three forecasting benchmarks: a random walk, a first-order ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-62

Working Paper
Supply-Side Effects of Pandemic Mortality: Insights from an Overlapping-Generations Model

We use an overlapping generation model to explore the implications of mortality during pandemics for the economy's productive capacity. Under current epidemiological projections for the progression of COVID-19, our model suggests that mortality will have, in itself, at most small effects on output and factor prices. The reason is that projected mortality is small in proportion to the population and skewed toward individuals who are retired from the labor force. That said, we show that if the spread of COVID-19 is not contained, or if the ongoing pandemic were to follow a mortality pattern ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2020-060

Working Paper
Identification Using Higher-Order Moments Restrictions

We exploit inequality restrictions on higher-order moments of the distribution of structural shocks to sharpen their identification. We show that these constraints can be treated as necessary conditions and used to shrink the set of admissible rotations. We illustrate the usefulness of this approach showing, by simulations, how it can dramatically improve the identification of monetary policy shocks when combined with widely used sign-restriction schemes. We then apply our methodology to two empirical questions: the effects of monetary policy shocks in the U.S. and the effects of sovereign ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP 2023-28

Working Paper
Heterogeneity and Unemployment Dynamics

This paper develops new estimates of flows into and out of unemployment that allow for unobserved heterogeneity across workers as well as direct effects of unemployment duration on unemployment-exit probabilities. Unlike any previous paper in this literature, we develop a complete dynamic statistical model that allows us to measure the contribution of different shocks to the short-run, medium-run, and long-run variance of unemployment as well as to specific historical episodes. We find that changes in the inflows of newly unemployed are the key driver of economic recessions and identify an ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2016-12

Newsletter
Will the Covid-19 pandemic lead to job reallocation and persistent unemployment?

The Covid-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on the U.S. economy. Nowhere are the effects more dramatic than in the labor market: In a span of just two months, the unemployment rate increased from 3.5% in February 2020—a low not seen since the late 1960s—to 14.7% in April—a high not seen since the Great Depression—before falling modestly in May and June. How persistent are these effects likely to be? Will the labor market recover quickly once pandemic-related restrictions are fully lifted, or will unemployment remain at elevated levels further into the future?
Chicago Fed Letter , Issue 444 , Pages 6

Working Paper
What's the Story? A New Perspective on the Value of Economic Forecasts

We apply textual analysis tools to measure the degree of optimism versus pessimism of the text that describes Federal Reserve Board forecasts published in the Greenbook. The resulting measure of Greenbook text sentiment, ?Tonality,? is found to be strongly correlated, in the intuitive direction, with the Greenbook point forecast for key economic variables such as unemployment and inflation. We then examine whether Tonality has incremental power for predicting unemployment, GDP growth, and inflation up to four quarters ahead. We find it to have significant and substantive predictive power for ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2017-107

Discussion Paper
Vulnerable Growth

Traditional GDP forecasts potentially present an overly optimistic (or pessimistic) view of the state of the economy: by focusing on the point estimate for the conditional mean of growth, such forecasts ignore risks around the central forecast. Yet, policymakers around the world increasingly focus on risks to the central forecast in policy debates. For example, in the United States the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) commonly discusses the balance of risks in the economy, with the relative prominence of this discussion fluctuating with the state of the economy. In a recent paper, we ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20180409

Working Paper
Monitoring the world business cycle

We propose a Markov-switching dynamic factor model to construct an index of global business cycle conditions, to perform short-term forecasts of world GDP quarterly growth in real time and to compute real-time business cycle probabilities. To overcome the real-time forecasting challenges, the model accounts for mixed frequencies, for asynchronous data publication and for leading indicators. Our pseudo real-time results show that this approach provides reliable and timely inferences of the world quarterly growth and of the world state of the business cycle on a monthly basis.
Globalization Institute Working Papers , Paper 228

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