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Recent Publications

Economic Letter

Posted February 21, 2017
John C. Williams

The decline in the natural rate of interest, or r-star, over the past decade raises three important questions. First, is this low level for the real short-term interest rate unique to the U.S. economy? Second, is the natural rate likely to remain low in the future? And third, is this low level confined to “safe” assets? In answer to these questions, evidence suggests that low r-star is a global phenomenon, is likely to be very persistent, and is not confined only to safe assets.

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Working Paper

Posted January 27, 2017
Philippe Aghion, Antonin Bergeaud, Timo Boppart, Peter J. Klenow, and Huiyu Li

Statistical agencies typically impute inflation for disappearing products from the inflation rate for surviving products. As some products disappear precisely because they are displaced by better products, inflation may be lower at these points than for surviving products. As a result, creative destruction may result in overstated inflation and understated growth. We use a simple model to relate this “missing growth” to the frequency and size of various kinds of innovations. Using U.S. Census data, we then apply two ways of assessing the magnitude of missing growth for all private nonfarm businesses for 1983-2013. The first approach exploits information on the market share of surviving plants. The second approach applies indirect inference to firm-level data. We find: (i) missing growth from imputation is Substantial–0.5 percentage points per year when using the first approach, 1 percentage point per year using the second method; and (ii) almost all of the missing growth is due to creative destruction (as opposed to new varieties).

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Indicators and Data

PCE Inflation Dispersion

PCE Inflation Dispersion statistics present a more detailed summary of the personal consumption expenditure price index (PCEPI), a measure of U.S. inflation. Included are measures of the distribution of price changes across categories and diffusion indices.

Tech Pulse

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.

Total Factor Productivity

Total Factor Productivity (TFP) presents a real-time, quarterly data series for the U.S. business sector, adjusted for variations in factor utilization—labor effort and capital’s workweek.

Wage Rigidity Meter

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.

Weather-Adjusted Employment Change

This page provides estimates of weather-adjusted employment change in the United States for the past six months. The estimates are aggregated from county-level estimates of weather’s employment effects, which were derived from a county-level analysis of the short-run effects of unusual weather on employment growth.