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Displaced workers have been shown to endure persistent losses years beyond their initial job separation events. These losses are especially amplified during recessions. (1) One explanation for greater persistence in downturns relative to booms, is that firms and industries on the margin of structural change permanently shift the types of tasks and occupations demanded after a large negative shock (Aghion et al. (2005)), but these new occupations do not match the stock of human capital held by those currently displaced. In response to COVID-19, firms with products and services that complement social-distancing (like Amazon distribution centers) may continue hiring during and beyond the recovery, while workers displaced from higher risk industries with more stagnant demand (for example, airport personnel, local retail clerks) are left to adjust to less familiar job opportunities. As some industries reopen gradually while others remain stunted, what role might workforce development programs have in bridging the skill gap such that displaced workers are best prepared for this new reality of work?
Michael Fleming, Asani Sarkar, and Peter Van Tassel
The Federal Reserve has taken unprecedented actions to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. households and businesses. These measures include cutting the Fed’s policy rate to the zero lower bound, purchasing Treasury and mortgage-backed securities (MBS) to promote market functioning, and establishing several liquidity and credit facilities. In this post, we briefly review the developments motivating these actions, summarize what the Fed has done and why, and compare the Fed’s response with its response to the 2007-09 financial crisis.
Uyanga Byambaa, Beverly Hirtle, Anna Kovner, and Matthew Plosser
Supervision and regulation are critical tools for the promotion of stability and soundness in the financial sector. In a prior post, we discussed findings from our recent research paper which examines the impact of supervision on bank performance (see earlier post How Does Supervision Affect Banks?). As described in that post, we exploit new supervisory data and develop a novel strategy to estimate the impact of supervision on bank risk taking, earnings, and growth. We find that bank holding companies (BHCs or “banks”) that receive more supervisory attention have less risky loan portfolios, but do not have lower growth or profitability. In this post, we examine the benefits of supervision over time, and especially during banking industry downturns.
Patrick Adams, Domenico Giannone, Eric Qian, and Argia Sbordone
The New York Fed Staff Nowcast has been running for over three years. Each Friday at 11:15 a.m., we publish our updated predictions for real GDP growth based on the data released each week. When the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) releases the first estimate of GDP growth, we stop updating our nowcast and archive it. We maintain these archives as part of our Nowcasting Report on the New York Fed’s public website to allow users to study the features of the nowcast and its accuracy. Now, to better understand the model and its performance during different cyclical episodes, we are publishing extended historical archives of the nowcast. Doing so provides fourteen additional years of forecasts that can be used not only to evaluate our nowcast model, but also to explore daily U.S. economic history through the model’s lens.
Rajashri Chakrabarti, Michelle Jiang, and William Nober
In an earlier post, we studied how educational attainment affects labor market outcomes and earnings inequality. In this post, we investigate whether these labor market effects were preserved across the last business cycle: Did students with certain types of educational attainment weather the recession better?
Andrew F. Haughwout, Donghoon Lee, Joelle Scally, and Wilbert van der Klaauw
The New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data today released our Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for the fourth quarter of 2017. Along with this report, we have posted an update of state-level data on balances and delinquencies for 2017. Overall aggregate debt balances increased again, with growth in all types of balances except for home equity lines of credit. In our post on the first quarter of 2017 we reported that overall balances had surpassed their peak set in the third quarter of 2008—the result of a slow but steady climb from several years of sharp deleveraging during the Great Recession.
In a recent Liberty Street Economics post, I showed that one major category of consumer spending—spending on discretionary services such as recreation, transportation, and household utilities—behaved very differently in the 2007-09 recession and subsequent recovery than in previous business cycles: specifically, it fell more steeply and has recovered much more slowly. This finding prompted one of the editors of this blog to inquire whether consumer goods spending has also departed markedly from its behavior in past cycles. To answer that question, I examined the decline of expenditures on consumer durable goods and nondurable goods across recessions as well as the pace of recovery during long expansions like the current one.
The current economic expansion is now the third-longest expansion in U.S. history (based on National Bureau of Economic Research [NBER] dating of U.S. business cycles). Even so, average growth in this expansion—a 2.1 percent annual rate—has been extraordinarily weak. In this post, I return to previous analysis on a specific portion of consumer spending—household discretionary services expenditures—that has displayed unusual weakness in the current expansion (see this post for the definition of discretionary versus nondiscretionary services expenditures, and these posts from 2012 and 2014 for previous updates). Even though these expenditures have picked up over the past couple of years, such that they have finally exceeded their previous peak, their recovery remains well behind that of other major categories of consumer spending. One explanation for the slow growth of spending on discretionary services is that households are concerned about their future income.
Andrew F. Haughwout, Donghoon Lee, Joelle Scally, and Wilbert van der Klaauw
Today, the New York Fed’s Center for Microeconomic Data released its Quarterly Report on Household Debt and Credit for the first quarter of 2017. The report shows a rise in household debt balances in the quarter of $149 billion, the eleventh consecutive quarterly increase since the long period of deleveraging following the Great Recession. As of March 31, 2017, household debt balances stood at $12.73 trillion, surpassing the previous 2008 peak and hitting a level 14 percent above the trough seen in the second quarter of 2013. With this report’s release, we’re adding two new charts which show both early and severe delinquency trends by loan product type. The report and the analyses presented here are based on the New York Fed’s Consumer Credit Panel (CCP), which is sourced from Equifax credit report data.
Viral V. Acharya, Michael J. Fleming, Warren B. Hrung, and Asani Sarkar
During the 2007-08 financial crisis, the Fed established lending facilities designed to improve market functioning by providing liquidity to nondepository financial institutions—the first lending targeted to this group since the 1930s. What was the financial condition of the dealers that borrowed from these facilities? Were they healthy institutions behaving opportunistically or were they genuinely distressed? In published research, we find that dealers in a weaker financial condition were more likely to participate than healthier ones and tended to borrow more. Our findings reinforce the importance of Bagehot’s principle that the lender-of-last resort should lend only against high-quality collateral and at a penalty rate so as to discourage unneeded or opportunistic borrowing.
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, and Asani Sarkar, all economists in the Bank’s Research Group.
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