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104 posts on "pandemic"
May 9, 2024

The Post‑Pandemic Shift in Retirement Expectations in the U.S.

Photo: woman riding her bike by the water. Text overlay 10 Years Measuring Consumer Behavior and Expectations

One of the most striking features of the labor market recovery following the pandemic recession has been the surge in quits from 2021 to mid-2023. This surge, often referred to as the Great Resignation, or the Great Reshuffle, was uncommonly large for an economic expansion. In this post, we call attention to a related labor market change that has not been previously highlighted—a persistent change in retirement expectations, with workers reporting much lower expectations of working full-time beyond ages 62 and 67. This decline is particularly notable for female workers and lower-income workers.

Posted at 10:00 am in Expectations, Labor Market | Permalink | Comments (0)
April 17, 2024

The New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel: A Foundational CMD Data Set

Video of a man going through a stack of bills. 10 years measuring consumer behavior & expectations text zooms in over the video.

As the Great Financial Crisis and associated recession were unfolding in 2009, researchers at the New York Fed joined colleagues at the Board of Governors and Philadelphia Fed to create a new kind of data set. Household liabilities, particularly mortgages, had gone from being a quiet little corner of the financial system to the center of the worst financial crisis and sharpest recession in decades. The new data set was designed to provide fresh insights into this part of the economy, especially the behavior of mortgage borrowers. In the fifteen years since that effort came to fruition, the New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel (CCP) has provided many valuable insights into household behavior and its implications for the macro economy and financial stability.

The CCP was one of the first data sets drawn from credit bureau data, one of the earliest features of the Center for Microeconomic Data (CMD), and the primary source material for some of the CMD’s most important contributions to policy and research. Here we review a few of the main household debt themes over the past fifteen years, and how our analyses contributed to their understanding.   

Posted at 7:00 am in Household Finance, Student Loans | Permalink
February 7, 2024

Racial and Ethnic Wealth Inequality in the Post‑Pandemic Era

Editor’s note: The DFA data upon which this post was based show a decline in the aggregate real wealth of Black households after 2019, as reported here. The authors are currently reviewing the data to determine whether a similar pattern exists for the typical Black household. (March 1, 3:47 pm)

Decorative illustration: 3 people on a pedestal. Whose net worth increased?

Wealth is unevenly distributed across racial and ethnic groups in the United States. In this first post in a two-part series on wealth inequality, we use the Distributional Financial Accounts (DFA) to document these disparities between Black, Hispanic, and white households from the first quarter of 2019 to the third quarter of 2023 for wealth and a variety of asset and liability categories. We find that these disparities have been exacerbated since the pandemic, likely due to rapid growth in the financial assets more often held by white individuals.

October 18, 2023

Borrower Expectations for the Return of Student Loan Repayment

Illustration: Headline Student Loans - Will borrowers continue to spend? Red background with illustration of a student pushing a full shopping cart.

After forty-three months of forbearance, the pause on federal student loan payments has ended. Originally enacted at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the administrative forbearance and interest waiver lasted until September 1, 2023, and borrowers’ monthly payments resumed this month. As discussed in an accompanying post, the pause on student loan payments afforded borrowers over $260 billion in waived payments throughout the pandemic, supporting borrowers’ consumption and savings over the last three years. In this post, we analyze responses of student loan borrowers to special questions in the August 2023 SCE Household Spending Survey designed to gauge the expected impact of the payment resumption on future spending growth, the risk of credit delinquency for borrowers, and the economy at large. The findings suggest that the payment resumption will have a relatively small overall effect on consumption, on the order of a 0.1 percentage point reduction in aggregate spending from August levels, and a (delayed) return of student loan delinquency rates back to pre-pandemic levels. Across groups, we see little variation in spending responses but find that low-income borrowers, female borrowers, those with less than a bachelor’s degree, and those who were not in repayment before the pandemic expect the highest likelihood of missed student loan payments.

October 11, 2023

Spending Down Pandemic Savings Is an “Only‑in‑the‑U.S.” Phenomenon

Customers leave store with their purchased items. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Household saving soared in the United States and other high-income economies during the pandemic, as consumers cut back on spending while government policies supported incomes. More recently, saving behavior has diverged, with the U.S. saving rate dropping below its pre-pandemic average while saving rates elsewhere have remained above their pre-pandemic averages. As a result, U.S. consumers have been spending down the “excess savings” built up during the pandemic while the excess savings abroad remain untapped. This divergent behavior helps explain why U.S. GDP has returned to its pre-pandemic trend path even as GDP levels in other high-income economies continue to run well below trend.

August 17, 2023

Consumers’ Perspectives on the Recent Movements in Inflation

Editors Note: The title of this post has been changed from the original. August 17, 2023, 10:35 a.m.

Decorative image: Woman loading groceries into trunk of car

Inflation in the U.S. has experienced unusually large movements in the last few years, starting with a steep rise between the spring of 2021 and June 2022, followed by a relatively rapid decline over the past twelve months. This marks a stark departure from an extended period of low and stable inflation. Economists and policymakers have expressed differing views about which factors contributed to these large movements (as reported in the media here, here, here, and here), leading to fierce debates in policy circles, academic journals, and the press. We know little, however, about the consumer’s perspective on what caused these sudden movements in inflation. In this post, we explore this question using a special module of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) in which consumers were asked what they think contributed to the recent movements in inflation. We find that consumers think supply-side issues were the most important factor behind the 2021-22 inflation surge, while they regard Federal Reserve policies as the most important factor behind the recent and expected future decline in inflation.

August 9, 2023

The Post‑Pandemic r*

Decorative: U.S. dollars and surgical masks in a still life.

The debate about the natural rate of interest, or r*, sometimes overlooks the point that there is an entire term structure of r* measures, with short-run estimates capturing current economic conditions and long-run estimates capturing more secular factors. The whole term structure of r* matters for policy: shorter run measures are relevant for gauging how restrictive or expansionary current policy is, while longer run measures are relevant when assessing terminal rates. This two-post series covers the evolution of both in the aftermath of the pandemic, with today’s post focusing especially on long-run measures and tomorrow’s post on short-run r*.

Posted at 7:00 am in DSGE, Forecasting, Pandemic | Permalink | Comments (1)
February 7, 2023

Inflation Persistence—An Update with December Data

Decorative image: Digital generated image of vertical bar graph made out of golden cubic blocks with shopping carts standing on them against light blue background. Inflation concept.

This post presents an updated estimate of inflation persistence, following the release of personal consumption expenditure (PCE) price data for December 2022. The estimates are obtained by the Multivariate Core Trend (MCT), a model we introduced on Liberty Street Economics last year and covered most recently in a January post. The MCT is a dynamic factor model estimated on monthly data for the seventeen major sectors of the PCE price index. It decomposes each sector’s inflation as the sum of a common trend, a sector-specific trend, a common transitory shock, and a sector-specific transitory shock. The trend in PCE inflation is constructed as the sum of the common and the sector-specific trends weighted by the expenditure shares. 

Posted at 7:00 am in Inflation | Permalink | Comments (1)
January 9, 2023

Bank Profits and Shareholder Payouts: The Repurchases Cycle

decorative image: skyscrapers with overlay of a 100 dollar bill and line graph

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Reserve placed restrictions on large banks’ dividends and share repurchases. These restrictions were intended to enhance banks’ resiliency by bolstering their capital in light of the very uncertain economic environment and concerns that banks might face very large losses should bad-case scenarios come to pass. When it became clear that the outlook had improved and that the losses banks experienced were unlikely to threaten their stability, the Federal Reserve removed these restrictions. In this post, we look at what happened to large banks’ dividends and share repurchases during and after the pandemic-era restrictions, tracking these shareholder payouts relative to bank profits to understand how these payments impacted large banks’ capital during this period.

January 6, 2023

Global Supply Chain Pressure Index: The China Factor

In a January 2022 post, we first presented the Global Supply Chain Pressure Index (GSCPI), a parsimonious global measure designed to capture supply chain disruptions using a range of indicators. In this post, we review GSCPI readings through December 2022, and then briefly discuss the drivers of recent moves in the index. While supply chain disruptions have significantly diminished over the course of 2022, the reversion of the index toward a normal historical range has paused over the past three months. Our analysis attributes the recent pause largely to the pandemic in China amid an easing of “Zero COVID” policies.

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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.

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