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Forecasting Unemployment in Real Time during the Great Recession: An Elusive Task
The unemployment rate has always been a focal point of discussions about the state of the economy because it provides a timely measure of the overall health of the labor market, and hence aggregate economic activity. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, many researchers, analysts, and policymakers have taken a keener interest in the unemployment rate not only as a gauge of current economic conditions, but also as a variable of interest for forecasting.
The State of States’ Unemployment in the Fourth District
Unemployment rates vary across individual US states at any point in time and respond to business-cycle fluctuations differently. Evaluating what constitutes a ?normal? level for the unemployment rate at the state level is not easy, but it is an important issue for policymakers. We introduce a framework that enables us to calculate the normal unemployment rate for each of the four states in the Fourth District and compare that rate to the national normal rate. We conclude that these states and the District as a whole have very little labor market slack left from the Great Recession.
Labor Market Tightness across the United States since the Great Recession
Though labor market statistics are often reported and discussed at the national level, conditions can vary quite a bit across individual states. We explore differences in these conditions before and after the Great Recession using a ratio of the number of unemployed workers to job vacancies. We show that the intensity of the adverse effects of the recession and the strength of the recovery varied geographically at all points in the process. We also demonstrate that wage growth is delayed until the ratio of unemployed workers to job vacancies returns to prerecession levels.
Geographic Mobility and Consumer Financial Health: Evidence from Oil Production Boom Towns
One way a household might handle financial distress is to relocate to another area that offers greater income opportunities. This article examines the impact of geographic mobility on consumer finances by focusing on the residents of ?boom towns??areas that saw a surge of growth in oil-drilling activity around 2010 and a bust thereafter. We find that residents who move after the bust experience stronger consumer financial health than residents who stay put.