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These brief essays delve into the economic issues of the day for a generally informed readership.

2014 / No. 27
Posted 2014-12-19

Monetary Policy and the Output Gap

by Fernando M. Martin

Overestimating how far the economy is away from its potential unnecessarily risks delaying the end of unusual monetary accommodation.

2014 / No. 26
Posted 2014-11-24

Projecting GDP Growth Using Trends in Labor Force Participation

by Fernando M. Martin

Measuring the output gap without accounting for the trend in labor force participation may lead to persistent misdiagnoses of the state of the economy.

2014 / No. 25
Posted 2014-11-10

Why Is Credit Card Delinquency Declining?

by Juan M. Sánchez

The decline in the number of cardholders in delinquency and the number of accounts per cardholder in delinquency are primary factors affecting the fall in the delinquency rate.

2014 / No. 23
Posted 2014-11-05

The Rising Complexity of the FOMC Statement

by Rubén Hernández-Murillo and Hannah Shell

FOMC statements have grown more complicated since the onset of unconventional monetary policy.

2014 / No. 24
Posted 2014-11-03

Recent ECB Policy and Inflation Expectations

by Alejandro Badel

Market participants may not expect recent ECB policy to boost inflation.

2014 / No. 22
Posted 2014-10-03

Measuring (Most of) the Slack in the Labor Market

by Carlos Garriga

Compared with previous recessions, the manufacturing sector does not show much slack. The construction sector, on the other hand, is below potential.

2014 / No. 21
Posted 2014-09-19

U.S. Job Polarization Persists

by Maria E. Canon and Yang Liu

Job polarization has existed before, during, and since the Great Recession.

2014 / No. 20
Posted 2014-09-05

“Unemployment Claims Hit 8½-Year Low”: Interpret with Caution

by David Wiczer

An unemployment statistic based on unemployment insurance is less useful because it does not measure unemployment itself.

2014 / No. 19
Posted 2014-08-04

Comparing International Bond Yields

by Christopher J. Neely

Spanish and Italian government bond yields are not directly comparable to those of U.S. Treasuries because the bonds are paid in different currencies.

2014 / No. 18
Posted 2014-07-18

The Cost of Chasing Returns

by YiLi Chien

Market mistiming reduces profits.

2014 / No. 17
Posted 2014-07-11

How Negative Is Negative Real GDP Growth?

by Kevin L. Kliesen

Most forecasters think the surprise first-quarter contraction is not a harbinger of another recession, but history suggests caution.

2014 / No. 16
Posted 2014-07-03

The Effects of Extending Unemployment Insurance Benefits

by Maria E. Canon and Yang Liu

Longer benefits may reduce unemployed workers’ job search efforts, decreasing their likelihood of becoming reemployed.

2014 / No. 15
Posted 2014-06-20

Job Separation Rate Shows Economic Shifts

by David Wiczer

Quits rise when the economy is good; layoffs and discharges rise when the economy isn’t.

2014 / No. 14
Posted 2014-06-09

What’s Behind—and Beyond—the Default Rate on Student Loans?

by Alexander Monge-Naranjo

Deferment or forbearance may be masking the true student loan default rates in recent years.

2014 / No. 13
Posted 2014-05-19

Where Is the Slack in the Labor Market?

by Carlos Garriga

Current slack in the economy may be caused primarily by the construction sector.

2014 / No. 12
Posted 2014-05-16

Recent Trends in Student Loans: More Loans and Higher Balances

by Alexander Monge-Naranjo

Student loan borrowing accelerated during the Great Recession and now outranks any non-mortgage debt, including auto loans and credit card debt.

2014 / No. 11
Posted 2014-05-02

Employment Revision Asymmetries

by Michael T. Owyang and E. Katarina Vermann

If employment revisions are systematically biased, they could affect how policy is conducted.

2014 / No. 10
Posted 2014-05-01

Signs of Improving Labor Market Conditions

by Kevin L. Kliesen

Data revisions suggest that job growth has been much stronger than initially reported the past two years.

2014 / No. 9
Posted 2014-04-17

Accounting for Discouraged Workers in the Unemployment Rate

by B. Ravikumar and Lin Shao

We construct a new measure of the unemployment rate based on a plausible assumption that some, but not all, of the discouraged workers reenter the labor force.

2014 / No. 8
Posted 2014-04-04

Are Virtual “Currencies” Likely to Succeed?

by Daniel L. Thornton

The continued use of a currency depends on the stability of its value and the existence of alternatives for achieving final settlement.

2014 / No. 7
Posted 2014-03-21

Labor Market Update

by Fernando M. Martin

There has been a significant and steady drop in the unemployment rate since late 2009, but unemployment duration remains high and employment as a percentage of the working-age population has not recovered.

2014 / No. 6
Posted 2014-03-14

Discouraged Workers: What Do We Know?

by B. Ravikumar and Lin Shao

The number of discouraged workers is small relative to the rest of the working-age population, and most discouraged workers do not stay in that category too long.

2014 / No. 5
Posted 2014-02-24

The Deleveraging of U.S. Households Since the Financial Crisis

by Juan M. Sánchez

While households decreased credit card debt between 2007 and 2010, the process varied by education level between the extensive margin (how many households borrowed) and the intensive margin (how much households borrowed).

2014 / No. 4
Posted 2014-02-18

Currency Returns During the Financial Crisis and Great Recession

by Alexander Monge-Naranjo

The volume and volatility of international capital flows have motivated recent interest in the optimal use of capital controls and the communication and coordination among central banks.

2014 / No. 3
Posted 2014-02-10

Has QE Been Effective?

by Daniel L. Thornton

Longer-term yields declined by relatively large amounts on days when the FOMC made specific QE announcements. However, the objective of QE has been to reduce long-term yields beyond the levels they would have reached without QE.

2014 / No. 2
Posted 2014-01-28

Lessons from the Taper Tantrum

by Christopher J. Neely

The evidence from last summer suggests that QE programs have had the desired effect on asset prices.

2014 / No. 1
Posted 2014-01-10

Quantitative Easing in Japan: Past and Present

by David Andolfatto and Li Li

Inflation expectations in Japan have recently risen above their historical average.


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