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Offshoring, Low-Skilled Immigration, and Labor Market Polarization

January 27, 2015 Comments off

Offshoring, Low-Skilled Immigration, and Labor Market Polarization
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

During the last three decades, jobs in the middle of the skill distribution disappeared, and employment expanded for high- and low-skill occupations. Real wages did not follow the same pattern. Although earnings for the high-skill occupations increased robustly, wages for both low- and middle-skill workers remained subdued. We attribute this outcome to the rise in offshoring and low-skilled immigration, and we develop a three-country stochastic growth model to rationalize this outcome. In the model, the increase in offshoring negatively affects the middle-skill occupations but benefits the high-skill ones, which in turn boosts aggregate productivity. As the income of high-skill occupations rises, so does the demand for services provided by low-skill workers. However, low-skill wages remain depressed as a result of the surge in unskilled immigration. Native workers react to immigration by upgrading the skill content of their labor tasks as they invest in training.

Home Hours in the United States and Europe

June 26, 2014 Comments off

Home Hours in the United States and Europe
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Using data from the Multinational Time Use Study, this paper documents the trends and levels of time allocation, with a focus on home hours, for a relatively large set of industrialized countries during the past 50 years. Three patterns emerge. First, home hours have decreased in both the United States and European countries. Second, female time allocation contributes more to the cross-country difference in both the trends and the levels of market hours and home hours per person. Third, time allocations between the United States and Europe are more similar for the prime-age group than for the young and old groups.

The Economic Plight of Millenials

June 16, 2014 Comments off

The Economic Plight of Millenials (PDF)
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

A demographic cohort is never monolithic, but the group that recently entered the labor force had one trait in common: they watched as the Great Recession dramatically reshaped the landscape of employment, housing, and, in general, their expectations. How profoundly will the economic downturn and its associated effects mark this generation?

How We Pay: Results from the Federal Reserve’s Latest Payments Study

May 8, 2014 Comments off

How We Pay: Results from the Federal Reserve’s Latest Payments Study
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

Every three years, the Federal Reserve payments study presents a snapshot of the rapidly evolving U.S. payments system. The latest issue of the Atlanta Fed’s EconSouth magazine highlights the preliminary results of the 2013 study.

Since 2003, when Congress passed the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act (commonly known as Check 21), the U.S. payments system has shifted dramatically. For instance, paper checks, which once comprised nearly half of noncash payments, accounted for only 15 percent in 2012. Checks are down, but not out, however. Although they made up a smaller share of the payments pie, they are declining from a dominant position. “As check writing continued to decline, the number of checks that could be converted declined as well,” the story notes. As a result, automated clearinghouse (ACH) transactions—many of which originate from the conversion of paper checks to ACH— decelerated, growing just 5.1 percent from 2009 to 2012, compared to 10.9 percent growth during the 2003 to 2012 period.

Meanwhile, payment cards continued to grow, accounting for two-thirds of consumer and business noncash payments in 2012. With annual growth of 15.8 percent, prepaid card payments grew the fastest of all noncash payments. The 2013 study the Fed’s fifth in a series of triennial studies.

FRB Atlanta — Econ South – First Quarter 2014

April 8, 2014 Comments off

Econ South – First Quarter 2014
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

The Economic Plight of Millennials
The millennial generation is entering the labor force with one trait in common: they watched as the Great Recession dramatically reshaped the landscape of employment, housing, and their overall expectations. How profoundly will the economic downturn and its associated effects mark this generation?

How We Pay: Results from the Federal Reserve’s Latest Payments Study
Changes in technology have affected not only how people live and work, they have also affected how individuals and businesses pay for goods and services. The Federal Reserve’s most recent triennial study of the payments system highlights a number of shifts in this dynamic arena.

Changing Channels: The Evolving Face of Media in the Southeast
New digital devices and enhanced technology have given consumers a feast of content to consume. Although consumers are the clear winners in this new media landscape, regional players in the communications field are scrambling to remain in the game.

The Effect of Large Investors on Asset Quality: Evidence from Subprime Mortgage Securities

April 4, 2014 Comments off

The Effect of Large Investors on Asset Quality: Evidence from Subprime Mortgage Securities
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

This paper examines how the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the largest investors in subprime private-label mortgage-backed securities (PLS), influenced the risk characteristics and prices of the deals in which they participated. To identify the causal effect of the GSEs, we use the fact that PLS deals in which Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchased securities included separate mortgage pools: one specifically created for the GSEs and one or more others directed at other triple-A investors. Using within-deal variation, we find that the pools bought by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had similar ex-ante risk characteristics but performed much better ex-post relative to other mortgage pools in the same deals. These effects were concentrated in low-documentation loans and in issuers that were highly dependent on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Our results extend the importance of disciplining effects of large claimholders beyond information-sensitive securities, such as equities and bank debt, to information-insensitive arm’s-length debt.

Atlanta Fed — Annual Report Asks: Where Are the Jobs?

March 21, 2014 Comments off

Annual Report Asks: Where Are the Jobs?
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

The Atlanta Fed in its 2013 Annual Report explores a timely and important economic question: where are the jobs?

“For most Americans the critical element of our ongoing economic recovery is employment,” says Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart in a video introduction to the report. “Since the end of the worst recession in the post–World War II era, jobs in the nation and the Southeast have been growing more slowly than in earlier recoveries.”

Combining rich text and videos, sleek infographics, and interactive charts, the annual report guides readers through the complex issues at work in the nation’s labor market. Want more information about something you just read? Related links throughout the report lead to more research and data.

The report also highlights the Atlanta Fed’s major accomplishments in 2013 and introduces readers to the Bank’s management, boards of directors, and advisory councils.

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