Promoting Jobs and Stable Prices
Congress has instructed the Federal Reserve to fulfill two goals with its monetary policy: keep unemployment low and prices stable. The Fed has economists around the country studying the economy to help inform our monetary policy effort, and we continually talk to business and community leaders to get their input as well.
The diverse, globally connected economy of the Eleventh District gives the Dallas Fed particular insight into energy, trade, immigration and other key aspects of the regional, national and global economies. The service sector represents about 70 percent of the Texas economy. The state is also a manufacturing powerhouse, ranking second in the U.S. in factory production. Exports are a key component of the Texas economy, which benefits from its border with Mexico and Gulf Coast ports. In 2016, regional economic activity improved as headwinds from declining oil prices and a stronger dollar began to dissipate. Employment strengthened in the state and in most major metropolitan areas in the second half of the year, and the energy sector continued to show signs of improvement.
In 2016, the Dallas Fed continued to enhance its leading role as an authority on the energy industry, which remains a focal point for the economies of Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico.
At the Dallas Fed, we are dedicated to thought leadership and producing top-tier economic research that is relevant to the Federal Reserve’s mission, influences decision making and advances understanding of the interactions between monetary policy and the economy. To that end, one of our Bank’s top priorities is to raise the profile and caliber of our research function, particularly in the areas of macroeconomics, energy, trade and immigration.
The Dallas Fed has a research staff of more than 60, with 24 PhD economists backed by an outstanding team of business economists, research analysts and assistants, local and national research consultants, visiting scholars from around the world and other highly trained support staff. A key indicator of these professionals’ thought leadership is their success at publishing their research in peer-reviewed journals. In 2016, our economists submitted 46 papers to well-respected journals and received 25 acceptances. (See Appendix).
Dallas Fed staff research the energy industry with a tour of a West Texas oil rig.
In 2016, the Dallas Fed continued to enhance its leading role as an authority on the energy industry, which remains a focal point for the economies of Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico. We developed and launched the quarterly Dallas Fed Energy Survey, which gathers timely information on business activity in the oil and gas sector. The Energy Survey has reinforced the Dallas Fed as a leader in collecting, analyzing and distributing significant data to the public and is now relied upon by many national and international news outlets for up-to-date data and analysis.
Senior Vice President and Research Director Mine Yucel leads the Bank’s energy research effort.
We also hosted the “Oil and the Economy: Adapting to a New Reality” conference in Houston. This conference, held jointly with the Kansas City Fed, examined key drivers of oil price movements and their implications for the broader economy.
The Dallas Fed established the Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute in 2007 to gain a better understanding of how globalization alters the environment in which U.S. monetary policy decisions are made. In 2016, the institute inaugurated the Global Perspectives Speaker Series. Featured speakers in the series included former Secretaries of the Treasury Henry Paulson, Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin; former governor of the Bank of England, Lord Mervyn King; and dean of the Harvard Business School, Nitin Nohria. The institute also launched a new annual research conference on international trade and finance with the University of Houston and published the conference volume The Federal Reserve's Role in the Global Economy: A Historical Perspective with Cambridge University Press.
Research Vice President Mark A. Wynne welcomes guests to the Dallas Fed’s Global Perspectives Speaker Series.
As part of the Global Perspectives series, we hosted the “Trilateral Conference on Economic and Monetary Policy in North America” with the governors of the central banks of Canada and Mexico, Stephen Poloz and Agustín Carstens. The discussion was particularly timely given the challenges low oil prices have created for North America and the increasing attention on U.S. trade policies. Likewise, our conference on “The Political Economy of Texas–Mexico,” presented in conjunction with the SMU John G. Tower Center for Political Studies, examined the deep ties between Texas and Mexico, including the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
A key aspect of the Dallas Fed’s involvement in the formulation of U.S. monetary policy is Dallas Fed President Robert S. Kaplan’s participation in the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC). During his first full year as president in 2016, Kaplan took part in a variety of activities that served to inform his participation in the FOMC. He traveled extensively throughout the Eleventh District, getting to know the people, businesses and concerns of this diverse and dynamic region. Through a series of “Dialogue with the Dallas Fed” events, Kaplan met with a broad cross section of bankers, students, and business and community leaders in Fort Worth, Midland, San Antonio and Wichita Falls, Texas, and Ruston, Louisiana.
A meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee
In addition, Kaplan presented speeches and conducted Q&A sessions at a wide variety of locations both in the district and worldwide, including London, Beijing, Mexico City and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Events such as these enable him to share his perspective on the regional, national and global economies with a broad audience. His public appearances also garnered significant coverage by the national and international press, greatly increasing public access to information on key topics related to the economy. Kaplan also has devoted particular attention to cultivating a full understanding of the energy industry, given its impact on not only the region but the nation and world, as well as matters related to trade, immigration and education.