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Explaining Variation in Real Wage Growth Over the Recent Expansion

In August 2019 the unemployment rate was roughly 1 percentage point below the Congressional Budget Office?s (CBO) estimate of its long-run or natural rate, nearly matching the unemployment rate gap that developed during the historically tight labor market of the late 1990s. Nevertheless, real wage growth remains well below its pace of the late 1990s and even that of the milder 2000s expansion.
Chicago Fed Letter

Journal Article
Falling College Wage Premiums by Race and Ethnicity

Workers with a college degree typically earn substantially more than workers with less education. This so-called college wage premium increased for several decades, but it has been flat to down in recent years and declined notably since the pandemic. Analysis indicates that this reflects an acceleration of wage gains for high school graduates rather than a slowdown for college graduates. This pattern is most evident for workers in racial and ethnic groups other than White, possibly reflecting an unusually tight labor market that may have altered their college attendance decisions.
FRBSF Economic Letter , Volume 2023 , Issue 22 , Pages 6

Working Paper
The Passthrough of Labor Costs to Price Inflation

We use a time-varying parameter/stochastic volatility VAR framework to assess how the passthrough of labor costs to price inflation has evolved over time in U.S. data. We find little evidence that changes in labor costs have had a material effect on price inflation in recent years, even for compensation measures where some degree of passthrough to prices still appears to be present. Our results cast doubt on explanations of recent inflation behavior that appeal to such mechanisms as downward nominal wage rigidity or a differential contribution of long-term and short-term unemployed workers to ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2015-42

Does Worker Scarcity Spur Investment, Automation and Productivity? Evidence from Earnings Calls

An analysis suggests labor issues like higher wages and hiring difficulties have prompted some firms to invest in automation, leading to productivity growth.
On the Economy

Journal Article
What Can We Learn from Online Wage Postings? Evidence from Glassdoor

We use millions of user-entry salaries from Glassdoor to evaluate how well data from online wage postings compare with more traditional, aggregated data, such as the Quarterly Census for Employment and Wages (QCEW) or household-level data such as the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). We perform our analysis across industries as well as geographical areas. We find that industry employment shares differ substantially between Glassdoor and QCEW. However, the correlation between industry- and region-specific average salaries in Glassdoor and the QCEW is fairly high. Similarly, the ...
Economic Quarterly , Issue 4Q , Pages 173-189

Discussion Paper
How Have Racial and Ethnic Earnings Gaps Changed after COVID-19?

Racial and ethnic earnings disparities have been salient features of the U.S. economy for decades. Between the pandemic-driven recession in 2020 and the rising inflation since 2021, workers’ real and nominal earnings have seen rapid change. To get a sense of how recent economic conditions have affected earnings disparities, we examine real and nominal weekly earnings trends for Asian, Black, Hispanic, and white workers. We find that average real weekly earnings have been declining in the past year, but less so for Black and Hispanic workers than for white and Asian workers. Black and ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20221020a

Working Paper
Reshoring, Automation, and Labor Markets Under Trade Uncertainty

We study the implications of trade uncertainty for reshoring, automation, and U.S. labor markets. Rising trade uncertainty creates incentive for firms to reduce exposures to foreign suppliers by moving production and distribution processes to domestic producers. However, we argue that reshoring does not necessarily bring jobs back to the home country or boost domestic wages, especially when firms have access to labor-substituting technologies such as automation. Automation improves labor productivity and facilitates reshoring, but it can also displace jobs. Furthermore, automation poses a ...
Working Paper Series , Paper 2024-16

Discussion Paper
Some Places are Much More Unequal than Others

Economic inequality in the United States is much more pronounced in some parts of the country than others. In this post, we examine the geography of wage inequality, drawing on our recent Economic Policy Review article. We find that the most unequal places tend to be large urban areas with strong economies where wage growth has been particularly strong for those at the top of the wage distribution. The least unequal places, on the other hand, tend to have relatively sluggish economies that deliver slower wage growth for high, middle, and lower wage earners alike. Many of the least unequal ...
Liberty Street Economics , Paper 20191007

Journal Article
When the Music Stops: Slowing Wage Growth May Lead to More Delinquent Debt

Subprime auto debt has risen nearly 10 percent above pre-pandemic levels, and delinquency rates have increased despite high wage growth in the economy. Historically, high wage growth has been associated with lower transitions into delinquency. Should wage growth slow, delinquency rates would likely rise even higher, especially among subprime borrowers.
Economic Bulletin

Working Paper
The Economic Effects of a Rapid Increase in the Minimum Wage: Evidence from South Korea Experiments

South Korea raised the nationwide minimum wage substantially in 2018 and 2019, and the minimum wage rose from 53 percent of the median wage to 63 percent. While the minimum wage has been increasing steadily over decades, the rapid pace in 2018–19 was largely unexpected and driven by a sudden shift in the political environment. We study the economic effects of this minimum wage hike on employment, wages, and labor productivity using South Korean manufacturing firm data. To ensure that sector-specific factors do not drive our main results, we supplement our analysis with data sources covering ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 22-13



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