The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis provides an invaluable service in producing and hosting their FRED statistical database and FRASER economic history digital library. (My Macro Theory slides are a testament to the former.) They have recently compiled an ongoing list of preliminary analyses by their Research Division economists related to COVID-19 and the economic fallout from the pandemic:
- Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: COVID-19 Research Resources
They are also maintaining an ongoing interactive timeline of events related to the pandemic.
St. Louis Fed President James Bullard recently made headlines when he issued a dire warning that the U.S. unemployment rate could soon skyrocket to 30% (for context, unemployment hit roughly 25% during the Great Depression and 10% during the Great Recession). But there is a huge amount of uncertainty surrounding such forecasts. Relatedly, economists at the St. Louis Fed have warned that, based on back-of-the-envelope calculations, the U.S. unemployment rate could rise to somewhere between 10.5% and 40.6% by June. Related reading, and one of the COVID-19 Research Resources links:
- Th St. Louis Fed On the Economy blog (3/24/20): Back-of-the-Envelope Estimates of Next Quarter’s Unemployment Rate by economist Miguel Faria-e-Castro
During crises, back-of-the-envelope calculations or novel forecasting techniques play a larger role in informing policymaking, because time is always a constraint and current statistical analysis is constrained by data availability lags.