Saeed Zaman |

Economist


Saeed Zaman, Economist

Saeed Zaman is an economist in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. His current research focuses on inflation measurement and forecasting, including nowcasting methods, and he contributes to the development of macroeconomic forecasting and policy models at the bank. His research interests also include inflation and prices, macroeconomic forecasting, monetary policy, and banking and financial institutions. He began work at the bank in 2002 as a research analyst, and over the years his work has ranged from analyzing economic conditions to developing software applications that support the research needs of the department.

Mr. Zaman has an M.S. in computer science from the University of Southern California, an M.A. in economics from Cleveland State University, and a B.S. in computer engineering from the G.I.K. Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology in Topi, Pakistan.

 

  • Fed Publications
Title Date Publication Author(s) Type

 

August, 2014 ; Edward S Knotek II; Economic Commentary
Abstract: We take a closer look at the connections between wages, prices, and economic activity. We find that causal relationships between wages and prices are difficult to identify, and the ability of wages to help predict future inflation is limited. Wages appear to be useful in assessing the current state of labor markets, but they are not necessarily sufficient for thinking about where the economy and inflation are going.

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May, 2014 ; Edward S Knotek II; Economic Commentary
Abstract: Using a statistical model, we find that three factors explain most of the decline in residential investment at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014: the increase in mortgage rates since early 2013, the unusually cold winter, and a modest tightening of lending standards in the residential mortgage market. Future prospects for residential investment depend heavily on mortgage rates. A return to normal weather and easing lending standards would boost activity, but even moderate increases in mortgage rates through the end of next year could restrain residential investment going forward.

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May, 2014 Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, working paper no. 14-03 ; Edward S Knotek II; Working Papers
Abstract: Forecasting future inflation and nowcasting contemporaneous inflation are difficult. We propose a new and parsimonious model for nowcasting headline and core inflation in the U.S. price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and the consumer price index (CPI). The model relies on relatively few variables and is tested using real-time data. The model's nowcasting accuracy improves as information accumulates over the course of a month or quarter, and it easily outperforms a variety of statistical benchmarks. In head-to-head comparisons, the model's nowcasts of CPI inflation outperform those from the Blue Chip consensus, with especially significant outperformance as the quarter goes on. The model's nowcasts for CPI and PCE inflation also significantly outperform those from the Survey of Professional Forecasters, with similar nowcasting accuracy for core inflation measures. Across all four inflation measures, the model's nowcasting accuracy is generally comparable to that of the Federal Reserve's Greenbook.

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2014-02 ; Charles T Carlstrom; Economic Commentary
Abstract: A standard Taylor rule, which expresses the federal funds rate as a function of inflation, the unemployment gap, and the past federal funds rate, tracks the federal funds rate well over time. We improve the fit by adding employment growth. Then we evaluate the effectiveness of that rule in a new way—by how accurately it predicts whether the FOMC moves the fed funds rate at its next meeting. It does pretty well, predicting nearly 70 percent of the time correctly.

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December, 2013 ; Edward S Knotek II; Economic Commentary
Abstract: The Federal Open Market Committee has been providing guidance to help markets anticipate when it will begin raising the federal funds rate target. The most recent guidance suggests that the target will not change at least until after an unemployment or inflation threshold is breached. We use a forecasting model to estimate when these thresholds are likely to be breached. We also consider how an inflation floor would affect the timing of liftoff.

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2013-16 ; Economic Commentary
Abstract: A simple but powerful technique for incorporating a changing underlying inflation trend into standard statistical time series models can improve forecast accuracy significantly—about 20 percent to 30 percent, two to three years out.

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2013-15 ; Todd E Clark; Economic Commentary
Abstract: Should the unanticipated slowing of inflation that has occurred since early 2012 raise doubts about the reliability of inflation forecasts? Our analysis indicates that inflation fell well within a normal range of uncertainty, and most of the deviation from the original forecast was a response to other economic developments.

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September, 2013 Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, working paper no. 13-13 ; Lakshmi Balasubramanyan; James B Thomson; Working Papers
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to empirically analyze if loan loss provisioning is forward-looking. Using a confidential dataset that directly helps us identify loan demand and loan supply at the bank level, we test if the banks? provisioning behavior is different before and after the crisis. We find, for the entire sample of banks, loan loss provisioning is forward-looking and statistically significant in the post-crisis period. Our results show that the top quartiles of banks in our dataset exhibit a forward-looking approach to loan loss provisioning both in the pre- and post-crisis period. From a policy perspective, the top quartile of banks in our sample is engaged in forward-looking loan loss provisioning. From an accounting stance, this may be suggestive of the largest banks being more engaged in earnings management and income smoothing than the smallest banks in our sample. However, from the banking regulation perspective, implementing forward-looking loan loss provisioning is economically intuitive and will help build a countercyclical buffer, thereby strengthening bank balance sheets.

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2013-05 ; Brent Meyer; Guhan Venkatu; Economic Commentary
Abstract: The Median CPI is well-known as an accurate predictor of future inflation. But it's just one of many possible trimmed-mean inflation measures. Recent research compares these types of measures to see which tracks future inflation best. Not only does the Median CPI outperform other trims in predicting CPI inflation, it also does a better job of predicting PCE inflation, the FOMC's preferred measure, than the core PCE.

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February, 2013 Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, working paper no. 13-03 ; Brent Meyer; Working Papers
Abstract: In this paper we investigate the forecasting performance of the median CPI in a variety of Bayesian VARs (BVARs) that are often used for monetary policy. Until now, the use of trimmed-mean price statistics in forecasting inflation has often been relegated to simple univariate or “Philips-Curve” approaches, thus limiting their usefulness in applications that require consistent forecasts of multiple macro variables. We find that inclusion of an extreme trimmed-mean measure—the median CPI—significantly improves the forecasts of both headline and core CPI across our wide-ranging set of BVARs. While the inflation forecasting improvements are perhaps not surprising given the current literature on core inflation statistics, we also find that inclusion of the median CPI improves the forecasting accuracy of the central bank’s primary instrument for monetary policy—the federal funds rate. We conclude with a few illustrative exercises that highlight the usefulness of using the median CPI.

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2012-15 ; Ellis W Tallman; Economic Commentary
Abstract: In the wake of Great Recession, the Federal Reserve engaged in conventional monetary policy actions by reducing the federal funds rate. But soon the rate hit zero, and could go no lower. In such environments, policymakers still think in terms of where the federal funds rate should be, were it possible to go negative. To project the "unconstrained path" of the funds rate—ignoring the zero lower bound—and to identify the key underlying shocks driving that path, we employ a statistical macroeconomic forecasting model. We find that the federal funds rate would have been extremely negative during 2009-2010.

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October, 2011 Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, working paper no. 11-28 ; Kenneth Beauchemin; Working Papers
Abstract: This paper presents a 16-variable Bayesian VAR forecasting model of the U.S. economy for use in a monetary policy setting. The variables that comprise the model are selected not only for their effectiveness in forecasting the primary variables of interest, but also for their relevance to the monetary policy process. In particular, the variables largely coincide with those of an augmented New-Keynesian DSGE model. We provide out-of sample forecast evaluations and illustrate the computation and use of predictive densities and fan charts. Although the reduced form model is the focus of the paper, we also provide an example of structural analysis to illustrate the macroeconomic response of a monetary policy shock.

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2011-19 ; Andrea Pescatori; Economic Commentary
Abstract: Models of the macroeconomy have gotten quite sophisticated, thanks to decades of development and advances in computing power. Such models have also become indispensable tools for monetary policymakers, useful both for forecasting and comparing different policy options. Their failure to predict the recent financial crisis does not negate their usefulness, it only points to some areas that can be improved.

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2011-14 ; Todd E Clark; Economic Commentary
Abstract: Sharp rises in energy and other commodity prices have recently ignited concerns about inflation. Will these price increases spill over to other prices more generally? We study the typical responses of different price shocks and assess whether the recent behavior of producer and consumer prices is consistent with historical norms. Our analysis shows that the behavior of various producer and consumer prices since late 2009 has generally matched up with historical patterns. Overall, our findings suggest that effects of the recent energy and commodity price shocks on core consumer prices will be modest going forward.

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2011-06 ; Ozgur Emre Ergungor; Economic Commentary
Abstract: Knowing whether buying a home is a better financial move for a family than renting requires a consideration of costs and options that people often neglect to factor in. One aspect of the calculation that is almost always overlooked is uncertainty—the fact that no matter how good one’s estimates of the future are, the future can turn out differently than projected. Incorporating uncertainty into the rent-or-buy calculation gives potential homebuyers information that can improve their decisions. While incorporating uncertainty is complicated, it’s made easier with the Cleveland Fed’s online calculator.

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2010-11 ; Murat Tasci; Economic Commentary
Abstract: The past recession has hit the labor market especially hard, and economists are wondering whether some fundamentals of the market have changed because of that blow. Many are suggesting that the natural rate of long-term unemployment—the level of unemployment an economy can’t go below—has shifted permanently higher. We use a new measure that is based on the rates at which workers are finding and losing jobs and which provides a more accurate assessment of the natural rate. We find that the natural rate of unemployment has indeed shifted higher—but much less so than has been suggested. Surprising trends in both the job-finding and job-separation rates explain much about the current state of the unemployment rate.

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January 1, 2006 Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Economic Commentary ; Mark E Schweitzer; Economic Commentary
Abstract: Since the 1970s, productivity growth in the manufacturing sector has outpaced the overall economy, yet the sector's share of the workforce has declined dramatically. This leads us to ask if we are in fact engineering ourselves out of jobs. This Economic Commentary explores the relationship between productivity and employment and points out why this apparently straightforward relationship may be more complicated than it appears.

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