Transcripts of the monetary policymaking body of the Federal Reserve from 2002–2008.

I’ll let Bill jump in, if he has any particular observations on that. I don’t think technology alone explains the surprise that we’ve had in the past year or so on productivity—I don’t know of any work that we or others have done that would allow us to parse out how much of that surprise might have been related to this high-tech issue. The bigger sectoral question in our minds has been related to the behavior of construction employment—a decidedly non-high-tech area—where we have not seen the falloff that one might have thought would follow from the decline in residential investment. Now it turns out that the work we’ve been doing, partly at the direction of the Chairman, suggests that, although it’s a little hard to understand, the construction industry appears to exhibit more labor hoarding than you would think. The real surprise has been that since the turn of the year construction employment hasn’t fallen off more than it has. But one could look back and say that maybe some of the weakness in actual productivity reflects a bigger cyclical effect coming from that element. Again, if one put a heavy weight on that, one might be less inclined to revise down one’s estimate of structural productivity.

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