During the 1970s and early 1980s, rises in inflation tended to coincide with weaker economic activity and lower stock prices. But in more recent decades, rises in inflation have tended to coincide with stronger economic activity and higher stock prices. The emergence of a pattern where inflation, economic activity, and stock prices all move together over the business cycle can be traced to the beneficial effects of well-anchored inflation expectations.
This paper reviews how productivity has evolved around the world since the pandemic began in 2020. Productivity in many countries has been volatile. We conclude that the broad contours of productivity growth during this period have been heavily shaped by predictable cyclical patterns. Looking at U.S. industry data, we find little evidence that the sharp rise in telework has had a notable impact, good or bad, on productivity. Stepping back, the data so far appear consistent with a continuation of the slow-productivity-growth trajectory that we faced before the pandemic.