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John O'Trakoun

John O'Trakoun is a senior policy economist in the Research Department. Before joining the Richmond Fed in September 2020, O'Trakoun was a senior economist at Ford Motor Company, where he analyzed and forecasted economic trends and their impact on the automotive industry. Previously, he was a senior economist in international affairs and trade at the U.S. Government Accountability Office. He also served as a teaching fellow in economics at Boston College, where he earned his doctorate and masters degree.

  • Academic Publications
    Business Economics, Vol. 53, January 2018: 14-24

    John O'Trakoun

    The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Vol. 26, 2017: 552-565

    John O'Trakoun

    International Finance, Vol. 18, Winter 2015: 299-320

    John O'Trakoun

  • Blog Posts
    May 17, 2022

    Recent reports revealed strong growth in hiring and wages for April. But is that growth enough to keep up with inflation?

    John O'Trakoun

    May 10, 2022

    The recent fall in real GDP has sparked considerable concern, but an alternative measure provides hope that the economy didn't fare as poorly as the GDP data suggest.

    John O'Trakoun

    April 12, 2022

    A recent analysis shows significantly higher inflation in rural areas versus urban areas, using data from nine broad census divisions. But does this difference in price levels hold true drilling down to the state level?

    Aubrey George and John O'Trakoun

    April 5, 2022

    Purchases of durable goods have been moderating after experiencing a surge during the pandemic. But is this due to falling demand or constrained supplies?

    John O'Trakoun

    March 29, 2022

    While the unemployment rate has yet to fall to its pre-pandemic level, another measure of labor market tightness has reached levels not seen since the 1970s — job openings per unemployed person.

    John O'Trakoun

    March 22, 2022

    Crude oil prices spiked following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, adding to the pricing pressures that were already affecting energy markets. Filling any supply gaps won't be easy.

    John O'Trakoun

    February 22, 2022

    Despite improvements in the unemployment rate and labor force participation, one measure indicates continued hiring challenges in the private sector: the hires-per-job opening ratio.

    John O'Trakoun

    February 15, 2022

    While consumers haven't been the best forecasters of the future rate of inflation, their expectations may have additional weight now because more people are paying attention to price levels.

    John O'Trakoun

    February 8, 2022

    There are a lot more people who say they aren't working due to COVID-19, according to a recent survey. However, other data indicates that most of those workers remain in the labor force.

    Conner Mulloy and John O'Trakoun

    February 1, 2022

    The New York Fed recently combined a variety of indicators into a single measure of global supply chain pressure. Plotting this index against the Richmond Fed's "prices paid" measurements from its business activity surveys can provide a window into the effects of supply disruptions on the Fifth Federal Reserve District.

    John O'Trakoun

    January 11, 2022

    While nonfarm payrolls increased only modestly in December, both monthly and high-frequency data on job openings bode well for upcoming employment reports.

    John O'Trakoun

    January 4, 2022

    A model takes a fresh look at the relationship between producer prices and consumer prices and can be used to make a simple forecast of inflation for 2022.

    John O'Trakoun

    December 28, 2021

    The emergence of a new COVID-19 variant poses risks to next year's economic outlook, especially if a spike in cases leads to supply disruptions in China and higher prices for Chinese imports.

    John O'Trakoun

    December 21, 2021

    Despite an impressive drop in the unemployment rate in November 2021, looking at the breakdown of the unemployed shows that the labor market is not back to normal.

    John O'Trakoun

    November 30, 2021

    Americans have spent less and saved more during most of the COVID-19 pandemic. What will happen to these accumulated savings is an open question.

    John O'Trakoun

    November 16, 2021

    Doing a deep dive into inventory-to-sales ratios can yield insights into supply chain issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    John O'Trakoun

    November 9, 2021

    In the post-COVID-19 labor market, there is still an inverse relationship between the unemployment rate and the job openings rate, expressed as the Beveridge curve. But it takes a lot more openings to get to the same level of unemployment. This shift suggests a high degree of labor market mismatch.

    John O'Trakoun

    October 19, 2021

    Average hourly earnings continue to grow strongly. With inflation running high, however, real wage growth has been more muted. Inflation has even outpaced wage growth in a few sectors.

    John O'Trakoun

    October 12, 2021

    Household savings have been elevated since the start of the pandemic, especially among high-income households. This is expected to fuel the seasonal burst of demand ahead of the holidays.

    John O'Trakoun

    October 5, 2021

    Recent data from the Institute for Supply Management and other sources offer early indications of whether and how much supply chain disruptions have eased.

    John O'Trakoun

    September 28, 2021

    How consumers respond to the ongoing Delta variant outbreak has been a key question facing the economy. Fortunately, consumer spending is holding up better than sentiment surveys would have suggested.

    John O'Trakoun

    September 7, 2021

    There could be multiple explanations for why more workers are staying on the sidelines compared to the pre-COVID-19 days. One reason could be that some people have reconsidered the costs and benefits of working.

    John O'Trakoun

    August 17, 2021

    Household spending fell sharply, especially on services, during the early days of the pandemic. That story is expected to change significantly as the recovery continues.

    John O'Trakoun

    August 10, 2021

    The two main employment surveys can present differing views of the health of the labor market in any given month, adding to the challenges of determining how far the economy has recovered from last year's severe downturn.

    John O'Trakoun

    August 3, 2021

    Employers are reporting they are unable to find workers. But is every industry experiencing the same difficulties, and are the industries having more trouble raising wages in response?

    John O'Trakoun

    July 13, 2021

    The recent acceleration in the prices people pay for housing might have more lasting implications for the path of core inflation ahead.

    John O'Trakoun

    July 6, 2021

    Policymakers have been using the trimmed mean PCE inflation rate to get a better sense of the overall direction of prices in the long term. But does using this metric risk missing anything that short-term price hikes might be telling us?

    John O'Trakoun