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Bank:Federal Reserve Bank of Boston  Series:Public Policy Brief 

Briefing
A principal components approach to estimating labor market pressure and its implications for inflation

We build a summary measure of labor market pressure that captures the common movement among a variety of labor market series. Obtained as the labor market series? first principal component, this measure explains a large portion of the variability of the underlying series. For this reason, it is a good summary indicator of labor market pressure. We show that the unemployment rate gap has tracked this summary measure closely over the past 35 years. At times, however, the summary measure and the unemployment rate gap have sent somewhat different signals. In terms of relying on the principal ...
Public Policy Brief

Briefing
U.S. household deleveraging: what do the aggregate and household-level data tell us?

Deleveraging is the process by which households decide that their level of debt is inconsistent with their revised economic outlook and adjust their leverage accordingly, primarily by substituting debt repayment for consumption. Household deleveraging is a commonly cited reason for the sluggish consumption growth experienced during the current economic recovery from the Great Recession. This policy brief analyzes the impact of household debt repayment on consumer spending during and after the Great Recession by using aggregate and household-level data. Overall, the data show little evidence ...
Public Policy Brief

Briefing
Regional differences in the impact of energy price increases

This Public Policy Brief presents estimates of the impact of price increases projected by the U.S. Department of Energy for the winter of 2004-5 on consumers in the nine Census divisions and selected metropolitan areas. It is based on materials presented in a briefing to the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston in December 2004.
Public Policy Brief

Briefing
Understanding the \\"job-loss recovery\\"

This Public Policy Brief presents analysis of the labor market by economic research staff at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. It is based on materials originally presented to the Board of Directors of the Boston Fed on April 8, 2004, with selective updates incorporating data reported in early June. Contributors to this brief include David DeRemer, Jeffrey C. Fuhrer, Kristina Johnson, Jane Sneddon Little, Radoslav Raykov, Scott Schuh, Geoffrey M.B. Tootell, Robert Triest, and Anne van Grondelle. Views expressed in this brief do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Reserve System.
Public Policy Brief

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

Briefing
Cliff notes: the effects of the 2013 debt-ceiling crisis

We investigate the effects of the 2013 debt-ceiling crisis on the Treasury bill market and possible spillovers to the commercial paper market and money market funds. We also compare this experience with the prior debt-ceiling crisis in 2011. We find that the 2013 debt-ceiling crisis reduced the demand for Treasury bills that were scheduled to mature right after the debt-ceiling deadline, but not for longer-term Treasury bills. Accordingly, we see that a hump formed at the shorter end of the term structure of Treasury bill yields around the debt-ceiling deadline, with the term structure ...
Public Policy Brief

Briefing
Measurement of unemployment

Measures of unemployment tally people without a job who are looking for one. For measurement purposes, the critical question is what constitutes ?looking.? This article summarizes how unemployment is measured in the United States and Europe, and describes recent research investigating the permeability of the dividing line between the unemployed and ?marginally attached? subgroups of those out of the labor market. A continuum between unemployed and entirely inactive individuals indicates that measures beyond unemployment may be useful in judging the state of the labor market.
Public Policy Brief

Briefing
Massachusetts employment growth 1996–2006: effects of industry performance and industry composition

This brief examines the effects of industry performance and industry composition on overall changes in Massachusetts employment in the period 1996 to 2006. Through 2000, Massachusetts enjoyed strong economic expansion. Around the time of the nationwide recession of 2001, however, the Massachusetts economy experienced a relatively severe setback, and the state has yet to regain as many jobs in the ensuing expansion as it lost in the downturn. ; The study finds that Massachusetts industries generally experienced slower employment growth than their national counterparts in the early 2000s. The ...
Public Policy Brief

Briefing
Inflation targeting: central bank practice overseas

This policy brief, which is based on an internal memo, summarizes the institutional and operational features observed in the 27 countries that have gained experience with inflation targeting (IT). It finds considerable convergence in many IT practices across countries over the past 10 to 15 years but much variation in policymakers? choices concerning such key issues as how they treat the borders of the target range. On the whole, most IT banks have chosen to practice inflation targeting in a more flexible and, thus, resilient fashion than many analysts once feared?seemingly without much loss ...
Public Policy Brief

Briefing
Inflation expectations and the evolution of U. S. inflation

Much recent commentary has centered on the importance of well-anchored inflation expectations serving as the foundation of a well-behaved inflation rate. But the difficulty in relying on this principle is that inflation expectations are not directly observable, and thus it is hard to know whether expectations truly play such an anchoring role in the evolution of inflation. In the current circumstances this question is of much more than academic interest, as widely used measures suggest the coincidence of a large unemployment gap and muted production costs with fairly stable long-run inflation ...
Public Policy Brief

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