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Chicago Fed Letter

Ross Cole, Luojia Hu, and Sam Schulhofer-Wohl

Average wages are a closely watched economic indicator. The growth rate of average wages can help tell us, for example, how workers’ living standards are changing, whether employers face rising costs that they might pass through to consumer price inflation, and whether the labor market is tight or has room to improve further. In the realm of monetary policy, the last two applications are particularly important because they can help people assess the outlook for the Federal Reserve’s “dual mandate” of price stability and maximum employment.

Scott Brave and David Kelley

This article introduces improvements to the adjusted National Financial Conditions Index (ANFCI). Compared with the previous version, the new ANFCI uses an enhanced estimation procedure with a broader set of macroeconomic adjustment variables and produces a longer time series history.

Rebecca Lewis and Ning Yu

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago sponsored the Symposium on OTC Derivatives in Shanghai on May 23, 2017, in conjunction with CCP12, a global association of major central counterparties (CCPs). The conference focused on current risk management and regulatory issues facing CCPs.

Alejandro DrexlerThanases Plestis, and Richard J. Rosen

Over the past two decades, guarantees that protect variable annuities’ balances when their underlying investments perform poorly have become quite popular. Collectively, these guarantees can pose a sizable risk to life insurers. This article explores the different types of variable annuity guarantees, the extent of the risk they pose to insurers, and the practices used by insurers to mitigate against such risk.

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