Liberty Street Economics
August 18, 2016

Just Released: Job Growth in the Region



LSE_Just Released: Job Growth in the Region


At today’s economic press briefing, we provided an update on regional economic conditions, with a particular focus on job growth in the region, and highlighted an important emerging labor market trend: the return of middle-wage jobs.

August 17, 2016

A Closer Look at the Federal Reserve's Securities Lending Program



LSE_A Closer Look at the Federal Reserve's Securities Lending Program

The Federal Reserve lends specific Treasury and agency debt securities held in its System Open Market Account (SOMA)—and accepts general Treasury securities as collateral—through its daily securities lending program. The program supports Treasury and agency debt market function by providing a secondary and temporary source of securities to the broader market through the Fed’s trading counterparties, the primary dealers. Importantly, the size and composition of the SOMA portfolio reflect past monetary policy decisions, limiting the program's ability to help alleviate all collateral shortages. In this post, we provide a brief history of the Fed’s securities lending program and describe recent trends in activity and what is driving them.
Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Financial Markets | Permalink | Comments ( 2 )

August 16, 2016

Just Released: Firms Assess the Effects of the Affordable Care Act



The Federal Reserve Bank of New York this morning released the results of its August 2016 business surveys, including the supplemental survey report on health coverage costs and the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on firms in the region. Health care costs increased 8.5 percent this year and are expected to rise by 10 percent in 2017, based on the median responses of surveyed businesses. Among the more widely mentioned factors that firms said were contributing to higher costs were increased premiums from insurance providers, higher costs for prescription drugs, the ACA, and an aging workforce.

Posted by Blog Author at 8:35 AM in Regional Analysis | Permalink | Comments ( 0 )

August 15, 2016

What Drives Forecaster Disagreement about Monetary Policy?



LSE_What Drives Forecaster Disagreement about Monetary Policy?

What can disagreement teach us about how private forecasters perceive the conduct of monetary policy? In a previous post, we showed that private forecasters disagree about both the short-term and the long-term evolution of key macroeconomic variables but that the shape of this disagreement differs across variables. In contrast to their views on other macroeconomic variables, private forecasters disagree substantially about the level of the federal funds rate that will prevail in the medium to long term but very little on the rate at shorter horizons. In this post, we explore the possible explanations for what drives forecasts of the federal funds rate, especially in the longer run.

Posted by Blog Author at 7:00 AM in Macroecon , Monetary Policy | Permalink | Comments ( 1 )

August 12, 2016

Puerto Rico’s Evolving Household Debts



LSE_Puerto Rico’s Evolving Household Debts

Debt and its performance play a critical role in economic development. The enormous increase in mortgage debt that took place during the run-up to the 2007 financial crisis and the contribution of that debt to the crisis underscore the importance of household debt to financial stability and economic growth. While we regularly report on household debt at the national level and for selected states in our Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit, we have not reported separately on Puerto Rico. This post introduces metrics on household debt in Puerto Rico, which we plan to update regularly. Like our other reports on household debt, this analysis uses our FRBNY Consumer Credit Panel, which is based on anonymized credit data from Equifax. We also take a look at some data for Puerto Rico’s banking sector to complete the picture of household debt for the Commonwealth.

August 11, 2016

Human Capital and Education in Puerto Rico



LSE_Human Capital and Education in Puerto Rico

Educational attainment is an important element of human capital; however a series of recent papers highlights the crucial role of the quality of education—which determines the skills actually learned, rather than the number of years spent in a classroom—as a main driver of growth. In fact, Hanushek and Woessmann argue that the importance of more appropriately measuring skills is seen in the very tight relationship between quality of skills, or knowledge capital, and growth. Moreover, the researchers state, “The knowledge capital–growth relationship suggests little mystery for East Asia, Latin America, or other regions: Growth rates are accounted for by cognitive skills.” Similarly, “Considering knowledge capital dramatically increases our ability to account for differences in growth.”

August 10, 2016

Puerto Rico’s Shrinking Labor Force Participation



LSE_Puerto Rico’s Shrinking Labor Force Participation

A key concern about Puerto Rico’s prospects is that its labor force participation rate, which is the percentage of the adult population either working or looking for work, has fallen sharply. Looking at the data shows that this decline cannot be attributed to any particular demographic segment. Instead, it is the consequence of an aging population, accelerated by a falling birth rate and outmigration of a relatively young cohort. Expected demographic trends will continue to put downward pressure on the participation rate over the medium term, creating a challenging headwind for the economy to overcome.

August 09, 2016

Just Released: Recent Developments in Consumer Credit Card Borrowing



LSE_2016_Just Released: Recent Developments in Consumer Credit Card Borrowing

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data today released its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for the second quarter of 2016. It showed that overall household debt increased modestly over the period, with subdued mortgage originations and moderate but continued increases in non-housing related credit—particularly auto loans and credit cards. The total outstanding credit card balance now stands at $729 billion, up $17 billion from the first quarter, but still well below the peak of $866 billion reached in the fourth quarter of 2008. Credit card delinquency rates have continued to improve since peaking in 2008. We have previously “looked under the hood” of auto loans, and in this post, we present analysis that provides new insight into credit card debt by examining trends in credit card issuance and usage. The Quarterly Report and the following analyses are based on data from the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel, which is a nationally representative sample drawn from Equifax credit reports.

Migration in Puerto Rico: Is There a Brain Drain?



LSE_Migration in Puerto Rico: Is There a Brain Drain?

Given Puerto Rico’s long-term economic malaise and ongoing fiscal crisis, it is no wonder that out-migration of the Island’s residents has picked up. Over the past five years alone, migration has resulted in a net outflow of almost 300,000 people, a staggering loss. It would make matters worse, however, if Puerto Rico were losing an outsized share of its highest-paid workers. But we find that, if anything, Puerto Rico’s migrants are actually tilted somewhat toward the lower end of the skills and earnings spectrum. Still, such a large outflow of potentially productive workers and taxpayers is an alarming trend that is likely to have profound consequences for the Island for years to come.

August 08, 2016

Restoring Economic Growth in Puerto Rico: Introduction to the Series



LSE_Restoring Economic Growth in Puerto Rico: Introduction to the Series


The difficult economic and financial issues facing the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have remained very much in the news since our post on options for addressing its fiscal problems appeared last fall. That post was itself a follow-up on a series of analyses, starting with a 2012 report that detailed the economic challenges facing the Commonwealth. In 2014, we extended that analysis with an update where we focused more closely on the fiscal challenges facing the Island. As the problems deepened, we have continued to examine important related subjects ranging from positive revisions in employment data, to the credit conditions faced by small businesses, to understanding emigration, and to considering how the Commonwealth’s public debts stack up. In most of this work, we have focused on how policymakers could help to address the immediate issues facing the Island and its people. The U.S. Congress and the Obama Administration took action in June to provide a framework to help address Puerto Rico’s fiscal crisis. But much remains to be done to address these ongoing problems, which represent a significant impediment to economic growth in the short run. It also seems important to revisit the question of the prospects for reviving longer-run growth in the Commonwealth. These concerns were underscored by projections published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the April edition of the World Economic Outlook that forecast Puerto Rico’s real GDP and population to decline through 2021.

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