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The Fed’s Balance Sheet: The 37th Annual Monetary and Trade Conference

Fed?s Harker on Unwinding: ?Walk, Don?t Run?. A slow and steady approach to unwinding the Fed?s balance sheet is Philadelphia Fed President Patrick T. Harker?s preference. ?So in metaphorical terms, it is a dark and stormy night, to quote Peanuts, and we are walking in the direction of a wall,? he told a conference audience. "In that situation, most of us would give the advice of ?walk, don?t run.??
Speech , Paper 165

Discussion Paper
Firm-Level Shocks and GDP Growth: The Case of Boeing’s 737 MAX Production Pause

Large firms play an integral role in aggregate economic activity owing to their size and production linkages. Events specific to these large firms can thus have significant effects on the macroeconomy. Quantifying these effects is tricky, however, given the complexity of the production process and the difficulty in identifying firm-level events. The recent pause in Boeing’s 737 MAX production is a striking example of such an event or “shock” to a large firm. This post applies a basic framework that is grounded in economic theory to provide a back-of-the envelope calculation of how the ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20200213

Newer need not be better: evaluating the Penn World Tables and the World Development Indicators using nighttime lights

Nighttime lights data are a measure of economic activity whose measurement error is plausibly independent of the errors of most conventional indicators. Therefore, we can use nighttime lights as an independent benchmark to assess existing measures of economic activity (Pinkovskiy and Sala-i-Martin 2016). We employ this insight to find out which vintages of the Penn World Tables (PWT) and of the World Development Indicators (WDI) better estimate true income per capita. We find that revisions of the PWT do not necessarily dominate their predecessors in terms of explaining nighttime lights (and ...
Staff Reports , Paper 778

How to Achieve a V-Shaped Recovery amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Contrasting the Great Depression and Great Recession recoveries helps show how GDP levels and growth rates can respond to different levels of policy responses.
On the Economy

Journal Article
Lingering Residual Seasonality in GDP Growth

Measuring economic growth is complicated by seasonality, the regular fluctuation in economic activity that depends on the season of the year. The Bureau of Economic Analysis uses statistical techniques to remove seasonality from its estimates of GDP, and, in 2015, it took steps to improve the seasonal adjustment of data back to 2012. I show that residual seasonality in GDP growth remains even after these adjustments, has been a longer-term phenomenon, and is particularly noticeable in the 1990s. The size of this residual seasonality is economically meaningful and has the ability to change the ...
Economic Commentary , Issue March

Data Units in FRED®

This Page One Economics Data Primer describes the range of data units available in FRED, including their common use and interpretation, that help reveal the story behind the numbers.
Page One Economics Newsletter

Journal Article
The Fog of Numbers

In times of economic turbulence, revisions to GDP data can be sizable, which makes conducting economic policy in real time during a crisis more difficult. A simple model based on Okun’s law can help refine the advance data release of real GDP growth to provide an improved reading of economic activity in real time. Applying this to data from the Great Recession explains some of the massive GDP revisions at that time. This could provide a guide for possible revisions to GDP releases during the current coronavirus crisis.
FRBSF Economic Letter , Volume 2020 , Issue 20 , Pages 5

Journal Article
Real-time performance of GDPplus and alternative model-based measures of GDP: 2005—2014

Like most macroeconomic variables, real gross domestic product is subject to measurement error. Because the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis lacks complete information at the time it publishes its initial GDP estimates, revisions are often substantial. Analysts concerned about the accuracy of these early estimates for expenditure GDP could focus instead on gross domestic income, the BEA?s measure of U.S. output on the income side of the national accounts. Conceptually, GDP on the expenditure side should equal GDP on the income side, and there should be no choice to make between the two ...
Research Rap Special Report , Issue Nov

Discussion Paper
How Much Have Consumers Spent on Imports during the Pandemic?

The return of U.S. real GDP to its pre-pandemic level in the second quarter of this year was driven by consumer spending on goods. Such spending was well above its pre-pandemic path, while spending on services was well below. Despite the surge in goods spending, domestic manufacturing has increased only modestly, leaving most of the increase in demand being filled by imports. While higher imports have been a drag on growth, the size of this drag has been moderated by the value created by the domestic transportation, wholesale, and retail sectors in selling these goods. Going forward, a ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20211022

Journal Article
Introducing the Philadelphia Fed nonmanufacturing survey

To assess the health of the economy, it sometimes helps to look beyond the numbers and listen directly to business managers. That is why the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and a handful of other regional Reserve Banks and private firms such as the Institute for Supply Management conduct a variety of monthly surveys of business activity. Such qualitative surveys offer the advantage of providing timelier insight into economic activity prior to the official monthly employment and quarterly gross domestic product data releases as well as insight into regional and local trends. And now ...
Business Review , Issue Q3 , Pages 15-22


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