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The New York Fed engages with individuals, households and businesses in the Second District and maintains an active dialogue in the region. The Bank gathers and shares regional economic intelligence to inform our community and policy makers, and promotes sound financial and economic decisions through community development and education programs.
Maya Bidanda, Rajashri Chakrabarti, Sean Hundtofte, and Maxim Pinkovskiy
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) is arguably the biggest policy intervention in health insurance in the United States since the passage of Medicaid and Medicare in 1965. The Act was signed into law in March 2010, and by 2016 approximately 20 to 24 million additional Americans were covered with health insurance. Such an extension of insurance coverage could affect not only medical bills, but also educational, employment, and broader financial outcomes. In this post, we take an initial look at the relationship between the ACA and higher education financing choices and outcomes. We find evidence that expansions in healthcare coverage may influence both the prevalence of student loans and loan repayment behavior. Specifically, our results suggest that individuals covered by ACA-related expansions are taking out slightly more loans and taking a longer time to start repayment.
John J. Conlon, Gizem Kosar, Giorgio Topa, and Basit Zafar
The New York Fed for the first time released its Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) Labor Market Survey which focuses on individuals’ experiences and expectations in the labor market. These data have been collected every four months since March 2014 as part of the SCE. It is being introduced now because the module has enough historical data to reveal notable trends. In this post we introduce the SCE Labor Market Survey and highlight some of its features.
The New York-Northern New Jersey region is home to some of the most and least unequal places in the nation, based on research presented today at our economic press briefing examining wage inequality in the region. Wage inequality—meaning the disparity in earnings between workers—has increased significantly in the United States since the early 1980s, though some places have much more wage inequality than others. Fairfield, Conn., for example, ranks as the most unequal metropolitan area in the country, and the New York–Northern New Jersey metropolitan area ranks in the top ten. On the other hand, most of the metropolitan areas in upstate New York are among the least unequal places in the country.
Gizem Kosar, Wilbert van der Klaauw, and Basit Zafar
Workplace benefits—such as parental leave, sick leave, and flexible work arrangements—are increasingly being recognized as important determinants of differences in labor supply behavior, education and occupation choice, inequality in wages, and gender disparities in labor market outcomes. Researchers have argued that the failure of the United States to keep pace in providing more generous workplace benefits accounts for 29 percent of the decline in the nation’s labor force participation rate for women relative to that of other high-income countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In this post, using novel data from a special module of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) fielded in May 2015 and May 2016, we document the labor market prevalence of workplace benefits, analyze workers’ preferences for them, and discuss their impact on labor supply.
Bianca De Paoli, Thomas Klitgaard, and Harry Wheeler
Japan offers a preview of future U.S. demographic trends, having already seen a large increase in the population over 65. So, how has the Japanese economy dealt with this change? A look at the data shows that women of all ages have been pulled into the labor force and that more people are working longer. This transformation of the work force has not been enough to prevent a very tight labor market in a slowly growing economy, and it may help explain why inflation remains minimal. Namely, wages are not responding as much as they might to the tight labor market because women and older workers tend to have lower bargaining power than prime-age males.
Joseph Tracy, Robert Rich, Samuel Kapon, and Ellen Fu
Indicators of labor market slack enable economists to judge pressures on wages and prices. Direct measures of slack, however, are not available and must be constructed. Here, we build on our previous work using the employment-to-population (E/P) ratio and develop an updated measure of labor market slack based on the behavior of labor compensation. Our measure indicates that roughly 90 percent of the labor gap that opened up following the recession has been closed.
Rob Dent, Samuel Kapon, Fatih Karahan, Benjamin W. Pugsley, and Ayşegül Sahin
Second in a three-part series
In this second post in our series on measuring labor market slack, we analyze the labor market outcomes of long-term unemployed workers to assess their employability and labor force attachment. If long-term unemployed workers are essentially nonparticipants, their job-finding prospects and attachment to the labor force should resemble those of nonparticipants who are not looking for a job and should differ considerably from those of short-term unemployed workers. Using data that allow us to follow workers over longer time periods, we find that differences in labor market outcomes between short- and long-term unemployed workers exist, but these differences narrow at longer horizons. In contrast, labor market outcomes for the long-term unemployed are substantially different from those of nonparticipants who do not want a job.
Rob Dent, Samuel Kapon, Fatih Karahan, Benjamin W. Pugsley, and Ayşegül Sahin
First in a three-part series
There has been some debate in the Liberty Street Economics blog and in other outlets, such as Krueger, Cramer, and Cho (2014) and Gordon (2013), about whether the short-term unemployment rate is a better measure of slack than the overall unemployment rate. As the chart below shows, the two measures are sending different signals, with the short-term unemployment rate back to its pre-recession level while the overall rate is still elevated because of a high long-term unemployment rate. One can argue that the unemployment rate is exaggerating the extent of underutilization in the labor market, based on the premise that the long-term unemployed are, in practice, out of the labor force and likely to exert little pressure on earnings. If this is indeed the case, inflationary pressures might start building up sooner than suggested by the overall unemployment rate. In a three-part series, we study the available evidence on the long-term unemployed and argue against this premise. The long-term unemployed should not be excluded from measures of labor market slack.
The unemployment rate is a popular measure of the condition of the labor market. With the Great Recession, the unemployment rate increased from a low of 4.4 percent in March 2007 to a peak of 10.0 percent in October 2009. As the economy recovered and growth resumed, the unemployment rate has fallen to 6.7 percent. What other measures are useful to supplement our understanding of the degree of the labor market recovery?
Olivier Armantier, Giorgio Topa, Wilbert van der Klaauw, and Basit Zafar
Note: We aren’t releasing the underlying data yet, but we’ll be making them available to the public sometime in first-quarter 2014. So please stay tuned.
In the previous two blog postings in this series, we described the goals, structure, and content of the new FRBNY Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) and presented some findings regarding inflation expectations. In this third posting, we focus on the labor market component of the SCE.
Liberty Street Economics features insight and analysis from New York Fed economists working at the intersection of research and policy. Launched in 2011, the blog takes its name from the Bank’s headquarters at 33 Liberty Street in Manhattan’s Financial District.
The editors are Michael Fleming, Andrew Haughwout, Thomas Klitgaard, Donald Morgan, and Asani Sarkar, all economists in the Bank’s Research Group.
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