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Brandyn Bok, Marco Del Negro, Domenico Giannone, Marc Giannoni, and Andrea Tambalotti
Second of three posts
The previous post in this series discussed several possible explanations for the trend decline in U.S. real interest rates since the late 1990s. We noted that while interest rates have generally come down over the past two decades, this decline has been more pronounced for Treasury securities. The conclusion that we draw from this evidence is that the convenience associated with the safety and liquidity embedded in Treasuries is an important driver of the secular (long-term) decline in Treasury yields. In this post and the next, we provide an overview of the two complementary empirical strategies we adopt to extract the trends in real interest rates and quantify their driving factors. Much more detail on all of this can be found in our recently published Brookings paper.
Marco Del Negro, Domenico Giannone, Marc Giannoni, and Andrea Tambalotti
First of three posts
Interest rates in the United States have remained at historically low levels for many years. This series of posts explores the forces behind the persistence of low rates. We briefly discuss some of the explanations advanced in the academic literature, and propose an alternative hypothesis that centers on the premium associated with safe and liquid assets. Our argument, outlined in a paper we presented at the Brookings Conference on Economic Activity last March, suggests that the increase in this premium since the late 1990s has been a key driver of the decline in the real return on U.S. Treasury securities.
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.
Michael Cai, Marc Giannoni, Abhi Gupta, Pearl Li, and Argia Sbordone
This post presents our quarterly 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 May 2017.
Editor’s note: The labels on the y-axis of the chart “Nonfarm Business Sector: Real Output per Hour of All Persons” have been corrected. (June 26, 2017, 11:56 a.m.)
A major economic concern is the ongoing sluggishness in the growth of output per worker hour, generally called labor productivity. In an arithmetic sense, the growth of the economy can be accounted for by the increase in hours worked plus that of labor productivity. With the unemployment rate now at a level widely regarded as near “full employment,” growth in hours worked is likely to be limited by demographic forces, most importantly the very limited expansion of the working-age population. If productivity growth also remains low, the sustainable pace of increase of real GDP will be limited and remain noticeably lower than historic norms.
A Conversation with Domenico Giannone, Argia Sbordone, and Andrea Tambalotti
New York Fed macroeconomists have been sharing their “nowcast” of GDP growth on the Bank’s public website since April 2016. Now, they’ve launched an interactive version of the Nowcasting Report, which updates the point forecast each week, but also helps users better visualize the impact of the flow of incoming data on the estimate produced by the model. Tables offer more detail on the data series informing the estimate. The interactive version also reports the staff nowcast back to January 2016, a longer nowcast history than has previously been available. Cross-media editor Anna Snider spoke to Domenico Giannone, Argia Sbordone, and Andrea Tambalotti—economists who developed the model underlying the report and produce estimates weekly with the help of research analysts Brandyn Bok and Daniele Caratelli—about nowcasting and its role in the policymaking process.
Ozge Akinci, Marco Del Negro, Abhi Gupta, Pearl Li, and Erica Moszkowski
This post presents our quarterly 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 February 2017. 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.
Consumers, financial market participants, and policymakers are particularly interested in the trend, or persistent, component of inflation. But this variable is not observed, which has resulted in a variety of proposed proxy measures. Because each measure has its own strengths and weaknesses, a consensus about a preferred candidate has not emerged. Here, we introduce the Underlying Inflation Gauge (UIG) as a measure of trend inflation. Among its attractive features, the UIG is derived from a large data set that extends beyond price variables and displays greater forecast accuracy than various measures of core inflation.
R. Jason Faberman, Andreas I. Mueller, Ayşegül Şahin, Rachel Schuh, and Giorgio Topa
Most people find themselves looking for work at some point in their adult lives. But what brings employers and job seekers together? And does searching for a new job while unemployed lead to different outcomes than searching while employed? Little is known about the job search process for unemployed workers. Even less is known about the search process and outcomes for currently employed workers—so‑called “on‑the‑job” search. This Liberty Street Economics post aims to shed light on these questions and to draw some conclusions for our understanding of labor market dynamics more generally.
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.
The views expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of the New York Fed or the Federal Reserve System.
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