The initial phase of the pandemic saw the euro area and U.S unemployment rates behave quite differently, with the rate for the United States rising much more dramatically than the euro area rate. Two years on, the rates for both regions are back near pre-pandemic levels. A key difference, though, is that U.S. employment levels were down by 3.0 million jobs in 2021:Q4 relative to pre-pandemic levels, while the number of euro area jobs was up 600,000. A look at employment by industry shows that both regions had large shortfalls in the accommodation and food services industries, as expected. A key difference is the government sector, with the number of those jobs in the euro area up by 1.5 million, while the government sector in the United States shed 600,000.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought substantial financial uncertainty for many Americans. In response, executive and legislative actions in March and April 2020 provided unprecedented debt relief by temporarily lowering interest rates on Direct federal student loans to 0 percent and automatically placing these loans into administrative forbearance. As a result, nearly 37 million borrowers have not been required to make payments on their student loans since March 2020, resulting in an estimated $195 billion worth of waived payments through April 2022. However, 10 million borrowers with private loans or Family Federal Education Loan (FFEL) loans owned by commercial banks were not granted the same relief and continued to make payments during the pandemic. Data show that Direct federal borrowers slowed their paydown, with very few making voluntary payments on their loans. FFEL borrowers, who were not covered by the automatic forbearance, struggled with their debt payments during this time. The difficulties faced by these borrowers in managing their student loans and other debts suggest that Direct borrowers will face rising delinquencies once forbearance ends and payments resume.
This post presents an update of the economic forecasts generated by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model. We describe very briefly our forecast and its change since December 2021. As usual, we wish to remind our readers that the DSGE model forecast is not an official New York Fed forecast, but only an input to the Research staff’s overall forecasting process. For more information about the model and variables discussed here, see our DSGE model Q & A.
Supply chain disruptions continue to be a major challenge as the world economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. In a January post, we presented the Global Supply Chain Pressure Index (GSCPI) as a parsimonious global measure that encompasses several indicators used to capture supply chain disruptions. The main purpose of this post is to provide an update of the GSCPI through February 2022. In addition, we use the index’s underlying data to discuss the drivers of recent moves in the GSCPI. Finally, these data are used to create country-specific supply chain pressures indices.
Yesterday’s post analyzed the drivers of the surge in inflation over the course of 2021 through the lens of the New York Fed DSGE model. In today’s post, we use the model to study how alternative monetary policy strategies might contribute to bringing inflation back down to 2 percent. Our main finding is that there is no monetary silver bullet. Due to a flat Phillips curve—a well–documented feature of the economic environment of the last three decades—monetary policy can only achieve faster disinflation at a considerable cost in terms of forgone economic activity. This is true regardless of the systematic approach followed by the central bank in the model to pursue its objective.
After a sharp decline in the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation rebounded in the second half of 2020 and surged through 2021. This post analyzes the drivers of these developments through the lens of the New York Fed DSGE model. Its main finding is that the recent rise in inflation is mostly accounted for by a large cost-push shock that occurred in the second quarter of 2021 and whose inflationary effects persist today. Based on the model’s reading of historical data, this shock is expected to fade gradually over the course of 2022, returning quarterly inflation to close to 2 percent only in mid-2023.