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Andrea Ajello, Luca Benzoni, Makena Schwinn, Yannick Timmer, and Francisco Vazquez-Grande

An inverted yield curve—defined as an episode in which long-maturity Treasury yields fall below their short-maturity counterparts—is a powerful near-term predictor of recessions. While most previous studies focus on the predictive power of the spread between long- and short-maturity Treasury yields, Engstrom and Sharpe (2019) have recently shown that a measure of the nominal near-term forward spread (NTFS), given by the difference between the six-quarter-ahead forward Treasury yield and the current three-month Treasury bill rate, dominates long-term spreads as a leading indicator of economic activity.
Jeff Larrimore, Jacob Mortenson, and David Splinter

The COVID-19 pandemic caused regressive income declines, but also led to progressive policy responses. Using administrative U.S. tax data, which are a near-universal panel dataset that can track income changes over time, we consider the distribution of annual income declines during the COVID-19 pandemic relative to the Great Recession.
Jeff Larrimore, Jacob Mortenson, and David Splinter

Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits were a central part of the social safety net during the Covid-19 recession. UI benefits, however, are severely understated in surveys. Using administrative tax data, we find that over half of UI benefits were missed in major survey data, with a greater understatement among low-income workers. As a result, 2020 official poverty rates were overstated by about 2 percentage points, and corrected poverty reached a six-decade low. We provide data to correct underreporting in surveys and show that, compared to UI benefits, the UI exclusion tax expenditure was less targeted at low incomes.