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Michael Bauer, senior economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, stated his views on the current economy and the outlook as of August 11, 2016.
Despite the very real struggles that some parts of the country, including Alaska, are facing, the broader national economy is in good shape: We’re at full employment, and inflation is well within sight of, and on track to reach, our target. Under these conditions, it makes sense for the Fed to gradually move interest rates toward more normal levels. The following is adapted from a presentation by the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco to the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation in Anchorage, Alaska, on August 18.
Wage gaps between U.S. workers with a college or graduate degree and those with a high school degree rose rapidly in the 1980s. Since then, the growth rate of these wage gaps has slowed, and the gaps were essentially unchanged between 2010 and 2015. I assess this flattening based on two related explanations for changing U.S. employment patterns: a technology-driven shift away from middle-skilled jobs (“polarization”) and generally weaker demand for advanced cognitive skills (“skill downgrading”). My analyses suggest both factors have contributed to the flattening of wage premiums.
The personal consumption expenditure price index (PCEPI) is one measure of U.S. inflation. The PCEPI measures the percentage change in prices of goods and services purchased by consumers throughout the economy.
The Tech Pulse Index is an index of coincident indicators of activity in the U.S. information technology sector. It can be interpreted as a summary statistic that tracks the health of the tech sector in a timely manner.
This site presents a real-time, quarterly series on total factor productivity (TFP) for the U.S. business sector, adjusted for variations in factor utilization - labor effort and capital's workweek.
The Wage Rigidity Meter offers a closer examination of the annual wage changes of U.S. workers that have not changed jobs over the year.