Consumer spending and business operations across the United States have been highly dependent on local conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Current economic forecasts therefore must incorporate projections for where the pandemic is headed. A new econometric model provides county-level and national forecasts of COVID-19 infections. Estimates from the model indicate that population immunity acquired from prior infections is the primary driver of recent declines in new cases. This factor should continue to exert strong downward pressure on new cases in the weeks ahead.
Despite the ubiquity of inflation targeting, central banks communicate their frameworks in a variety of ways. No central bank explicitly expresses their conduct via a policy rule, which contrasts with models of policy. Central banks often connect theory with their practice by publishing inflation forecasts that can, in principle, implicitly convey their reaction function. We return to this central idea to show how a central bank can achieve the gains of a rule-based policy without publicly stating a specific rule. The approach requires central banks to specify an inflation target, inflation tolerance bands, and provide economic projections. When inflation moves outside the band, inflation forecasts provide a time frame over which inflation will return to within the band. We show how this communication replicates and provides the same information as a rule-based policy. In addition, the communication strategy produces a natural benchmark for assessing central bank performance.