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From many series, one cycle: improved estimates of the business cycle from a multivariate unobserved components model

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  • Charles A. Fleischman
  • John M. Roberts

Abstract

We construct new estimates of potential output and the output gap using a multivariate approach that allows for an explicit role for measurement errors in the decomposition of real output. Because we include data on hours, output, employment, and the labor force, we are able to decompose our estimate of potential output into separate trends in labor productivity, labor-force participation, weekly hours, and the NAIRU. We find that labor-market variables—especially the unemployment rate—are the most informative individual indicators of the state of the business cycle. Conditional on including these measures, inflation is also very informative. Among measures of output, we find that although they add little to the identification for the cycle, the income-side measures of output are about as informative as the traditional product-side measures about the level of structural productivity and potential output. We also find that the output gap resulting from the recent financial crisis was very large, reaching -7 percent of output in the second half of 2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Charles A. Fleischman & John M. Roberts, 2011. "From many series, one cycle: improved estimates of the business cycle from a multivariate unobserved components model," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2011-46, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2011-46
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Small, David, 2008. "Nowcasting: The real-time informational content of macroeconomic data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 665-676, May.
    2. Arthur F. Burns & Wesley C. Mitchell, 1946. "Measuring Business Cycles," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number burn46-1.
    3. Lawrence J. Christiano & Martin Eichenbaum & Robert Vigfusson, 2003. "What Happens After a Technology Shock?," NBER Working Papers 9819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Giannone, Domenico & Reichlin, Lucrezia & Small, David, 2005. "Nowcasting GDP and Inflation: The Real Time Informational Content of Macroeconomic Data Releases," CEPR Discussion Papers 5178, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Shigeru Fujita, 2011. "Effects of extended unemployment insurance benefits: evidence from the monthly CPS," Working Papers 10-35, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    6. Justin Weidner & John C. Williams, 2009. "How big is the output gap?," FRBSF Economic Letter, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, issue jun12.
    7. Arabinda Basistha & Richard Startz, 2004. "Measuring the NAIRU with Reduced Uncertainty: A Multiple Indicator-Common Component Approach," Working Papers UWEC-2004-22, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Holston, Kathryn & Laubach, Thomas & Williams, John C., 2017. "Measuring the natural rate of interest: International trends and determinants," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(S1), pages 59-75.
    2. Christopher L. Foote & Richard W. Ryan, 2015. "Labor-Market Polarization over the Business Cycle," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 371-413.
    3. John G. Fernald, 2015. "Productivity and Potential Output before, during, and after the Great Recession," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(1), pages 1-51.
    4. repec:ucp:macann:doi:10.1086/690242 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Juan Antolin-Diaz & Thomas Drechsel & Ivan Petrella, 2017. "Tracking the Slowdown in Long-Run GDP Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(2), pages 343-356, May.
    6. Antolin-Diaz, Juan & Drechsel, Thomas & Petrella, Ivan, 2014. "Following the Trend: Tracking GDP when Long-Run Growth is Uncertain," CEPR Discussion Papers 10272, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Olivier Coibion & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Mauricio Ulate, 2017. "Secular Stagnation: Policy Options and the Cyclical Sensitivity in Estimates of Potential Output," Working Papers 01/2017, National Bank of Ukraine, Monetary Policy and Economic Analysis Department.
    8. Regis Barnichon & Christopher J. Nekarda, 2012. "The Ins and Outs of Forecasting Unemployment: Using Labor Force Flows to Forecast the Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 43(2 (Fall)), pages 83-131.
    9. Jeffrey R. Campbell & Jonas D. M. Fisher & Alejandro Justiniano & Leonardo Melosi, 2017. "Forward Guidance and Macroeconomic Outcomes since the Financial Crisis," NBER Macroeconomics Annual, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(1), pages 283-357.
    10. Anthony M. Diercks & William Waller, 2017. "Taxes and the Fed : Theory and Evidence from Equities," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-104, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

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    Keywords

    Business cycles - United States ; Labor productivity - Econometric models;

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