Average-Inflation Targeting and the Effective Lower Bound
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Reserve cut the federal funds rate to essentially zero. It took further measures to support the functioning of financial markets and the flow of credit. Nevertheless, the economic downturn is putting downward pressure on inflation, which had already been running below the Fed’s 2% target for several years. This raises additional concerns that inflation expectations could decline and push inflation down further, ultimately hampering economic activity. A monetary policy framework based on average-inflation targeting could help address these ...
The Credit Line Channel
Aggregate bank lending to ﬁrms expands following adverse macroeconomic shocks, such as the outbreak of COVID-19 or a monetary policy tightening, at odds with canonical models. Using loan-level supervisory data, we show that these dynamics are driven by draws on credit lines by large ﬁrms. Banks that experience larger drawdowns restrict term lending more — an externality onto smaller ﬁrms. Using a structural model, we show that credit lines are necessary to reproduce the ﬂow of credit toward less constrained ﬁrms after adverse shocks. While credit lines increase total credit ...
Assessing Recent Stock Market Valuation with Macro Data
History suggests that elevated values of the cyclically adjusted price-earnings (CAPE) ratio may indicate an overvalued stock market. A valuation model that uses a small set of economic variables can help account for movements in the CAPE ratio over the past six decades. One of these variables is a macroeconomic uncertainty index. Comparing the model’s prediction for the second and third quarters of 2020 to the 2008–2009 period suggests that investors have reacted to macroeconomic uncertainty very differently during the COVID-19 outbreak than they did during the financial crisis.
Labor Productivity in a Pandemic
U.S. labor productivity has grown quickly during the pandemic compared with the past decade. However, this rapid pace is unlikely to be sustained. Similar to the Great Recession, the primary reasons for strong productivity growth now are cyclical effects that are likely to unwind as the economy continues to recover. For example, the number of workers has fallen, so capital per worker has risen—raising labor productivity in the short term. What effect the pandemic itself might have on productivity remains uncertain.
Vaccine Reluctance Is Diminishing but Still High in a Few Industries
Americans are becoming more receptive to getting COVID-19 vaccines, but pockets of reluctance remain, including in industries in which personal contact is essential to doing business.
Monitoring the Inflationary Effects of COVID-19
Inflation fell dramatically following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dividing the underlying price data according to spending category reveals that a majority of the drop in core personal consumption expenditures inflation comes from a large decline in consumer demand. This demand effect far outweighs upward price pressure from COVID-related supply constraints. A new monthly data page from the San Francisco Fed tracks how sensitivity to the economic disruptions of COVID-19 affects different categories of inflation over time.
3D Public Servants: The Courage to Be Human
Online, prerecorded video presentation at South by Southwest (SXSW), by Mary C. Daly, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, April 16, 2020.
A Simple Framework to Monitor Inflation
This paper proposes a simple framework to help monitor and understand movements in PCE inﬂation in real time. The approach is to decompose inﬂation using simple categorical-level regressions or systems of equations. The estimates are then used to group categories into components of PCE inﬂation. I review some applications of the methodology, and show how it can help explain inﬂation dynamics over recent episodes. The methodology shows that inﬂation remained low in the mid-2010s primarily because of factors unrelated to aggregate economic conditions. I also apply the methodology to ...
Impacts of COVID-19 on Nonprofits in the Western United States
Nonprofit organizations play an important role in the response to COVID-19, but the crisis is straining their ability to serve communities. This report summarizes data from a Federal Reserve survey to assess the impact of the pandemic on nonprofit respondents and the communities they serve in the Western United States.
The Economic Gains from Equity
How much is inequity costing us? Using a simple growth accounting framework we apply standard shift-share techniques to data from the Current Population Survey (1990-2019) to compute the aggregate economic costs of persistent educational and labor market disparities by gender and race. We find significant economic losses associated with these gaps. Building on this finding, we consider which disparities generate the largest costs, paying specific attention to differences in employment, hours worked, educational attainment, educational utilization, and occupational allocation. We also examine ...