Serving the public with innovative research and analysis
John Fernald, senior research advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, stated his views on the current economy and the outlook as of January 12, 2017.
The rate of business turnover has declined since the late 1970s, which some argue has hampered growth in innovation and productivity. This sounds like a plausible contributor to lackluster economic growth, but the connection between business turnover and productivity is more subtle. First, while business turnover has steadily declined over the past 35 years, aggregate productivity growth has not. Second, even when business starts were at historical highs, existing firms lost very little market share to new firms. This suggests that older firms are just as innovative as newcomers.
We develop and assess new time series measures of economic sentiment based on computational text analysis of economic and financial newspaper articles from January 1980 to April 2015. The text analysis is based on predictive models estimated using machine learning techniques from Kanjoya. We analyze four alternative news sentiment indexes. We find that the news sentiment indexes correlate strongly with contemporaneous business cycle indicators. We also find that innovations to news sentiment predict future economic activity. Furthermore, in most cases, the news sentiment measures outperform the University of Michigan and Conference board measures in predicting the federal funds rate, consumption, employment, inflation, industrial production, and the S&P500. For some of these economic outcomes, there is evidence that the news sentiment measures have significant predictive power even after conditioning on these survey-based measures.
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.
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.