FRBSF Economic Letters

Economic analysis for a general audience

Adam Hale Shapiro


Tight labor markets have raised concerns about the role of labor costs in persistently high inflation readings. Policymakers are paying particular attention to nonhousing services inflation, which is considered most closely linked to wages. Analysis shows that higher labor costs are passed along to customers in the form of higher nonhousing services prices, however the effect on overall inflation is very small. Labor-cost growth has no meaningful effect on goods or housing services inflation. Overall, labor-cost growth is responsible for only about 0.1 percentage point of recent core PCE inflation.

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Analysis of current economic developments and the outlook

Western Economic Developments

Western Economic Developments is linked to via Fed in Print only.

Working Papers

The latest in economic research

Piergiorgio Alessandri, Oscar Jorda, and Fabrizio Venditti

Financial markets play an important role in generating monetary policy transmission asymmetries in the US. Credit spreads only adjust to unexpected increases in interest rates, causing output and prices to respond more to a monetary tightening than to an expansion. At a one year horizon, the ‘financial multiplier’ of monetary policy—defined as the ratio between the cumulative responses of employment and credit spreads—is zero for a monetary expansion, -2 for a monetary tightening, and -4 for a monetary tightening that takes place under strained credit market conditions. These results have important policy implications: the central bank may inadvertently over-tighten in times of financial uncertainty.

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