Steering Toward Sustainable Growth
The inflation outlook combined with a strong labor market leave no doubt that further monetary policy tightening is appropriate. The question is, how much and how quickly? The appropriate path of policy confronts the economic headwinds immediately ahead while also laying the groundwork for the economy we want in the future. The following is adapted from remarks by the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to the Center for Business and Economic Research, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, on April 20.
Productivity in the World Economy During and After the Pandemic
This paper reviews how productivity has evolved around the world since the pandemic began in 2020. Productivity in many countries has been volatile. We conclude that the broad contours of productivity growth during this period have been heavily shaped by predictable cyclical patterns. Looking at U.S. industry data, we find little evidence that the sharp rise in telework has had a notable impact, good or bad, on productivity. Stepping back, the data so far appear consistent with a continuation of the slow-productivity-growth trajectory that we faced before the pandemic.
Pandemic Unemployment Effects across Demographic Groups
Workers in service industries and occupations with a lot of close social contact suffered the highest job losses during the pandemic recession. This differed from previous downturns, which tended to have their most severe effects on industries with high concentrations of manual labor. As a result, the unemployment impact of the pandemic on different demographic groups has not followed historical patterns, particularly for Asian, Black, and female workers. The unemployment gap between these racial groups has not been as wide as previous economic fluctuations would have predicted.
Policy Nimbleness Through Forward Guidance
Bringing inflation down is the Federal Reserve’s number one priority. The goal is to do that without crippling growth and stalling the labor market. This will not be easy, but the economy and the Fed’s policy toolkit have both evolved, which will help for meeting those goals.
What the Moment Demands
When central banks are unsure about how the economy will evolve, what impact their policies will have, or how fundamental benchmarks in the economy are changing, the optimal strategy is a gradualist approach to policy. The challenge will be to respond rapidly when the situation requires and to resist the pressure to act quickly when patience is needed. The following is adapted from the closing keynote by the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to the 33rd Frankfurt European Banking Congress in Frankfurt, Germany, on November 17.
Policy Nimbleness Through Forward Guidance
Presentation at Shadow Open Market Committee Conference, Chapman University, Orange, CA, June 24, 2022, by Mary C. Daly, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
Comparing Pandemic Unemployment to Past U.S. Recoveries
Unemployment fell at a slow and steady rate in the 10 cyclical recoveries from 1949 through 2019. These historical patterns also apply to the recovery from the pandemic recession after accounting for the unprecedented burst of temporary layoffs early in the pandemic followed by their rapid reversal from April to November 2020. Unemployment for other reasons—which has been most important in other recent recoveries—did not start declining until November 2020. Since then, unemployment for other reasons has declined at a faster pace than its historical average.
Lessons Learned from Small Business Lending During COVID-19: A Case Study of the California Rebuilding Fund
As the COVID-19 pandemic forced California businesses to shut down in March 2020, the fate of small businesses, which often had fewer reserves to draw upon when trying to survive the shutdowns, became particularly concerning. Federal aid measures, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), brought relief to many business owners, but their deployment also confirmed what many small business advocates feared: business owners in the most vulnerable communities and underrepresented business owners often struggled to obtain assistance. At the same time, small business lending capital dried ...
Remote Work and Housing Demand
The COVID-19 pandemic reshaped the way households work. Nearly a third of employees still worked from home part time or full time as of August 2022. This has significantly increased housing demand and is a key factor explaining why U.S. house prices grew 24% between November 2019 and November 2021. Analysis shows that the shift to remote work may account for more than half of overall house price increases and similar increases in rents. This fundamental evolution in work-related housing demand may be important for future house prices.
Housing Demand and Remote Work
What explains record U.S. house price growth since late 2019? We show that the shift to remote work explains over one half of the 23.8 percent national house price increase over this period. Using variation in remote work exposure across U.S. metropolitan areas we estimate that an additional percentage point of remote work causes a 0.93 percent increase in house prices after controlling for negative spillovers from migration. This cross-sectional estimate combined with the aggregate shift to remote work implies that remote work raised aggregate U.S. house prices by 15.1 percent. Using a model ...