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Conference materials, including slide presentations and handouts, will be posted here during and after the seminar.  Check back for updates!

Session Descriptions

Monday, August 31

9:50 AM - 10:00 AM  Welcome Remarks
Constance Hunter, CBE, Chief Economist, KPMG; 2019-2020 NABE President

10:00 AM - 11:10 AM 

Track A  Measuring Employment: Using and Interpreting Employment Statistics 

Angie Clinton
, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Julie Hatch Maxfield, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Moderator: Maurine Haver, CBE, Haver Analytics

The Employment Situation is watched closely by financial markets worldwide and is often cited as the most important US economic release.   This session will explain the differences between the two featured measures of employment and why they may occasionally provide very different views of employment in any given month.  Presenters from the Bureau of Labor Statistics will discuss the Current Employment Statistics Survey (aka the Establishment Survey or Payroll Employment), which is used to derive the monthly change in payroll employment and average hourly earnings and the Current Population Survey (aka the Household Survey), which is used to derive the unemployment rate, alternative measures of labor underutilization, and key labor force statistics for various demographic groups.   The presenters will cover each survey’s methodology, challenges such as business births and deaths for the establishment survey and common mistakes made in analyzing the employment report by reporters and bloggers.

Track B  Other Employment Indicators: Jolts, BED, and Claims

Kevin Cooksey, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Larry Akinyooye, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Kevin Stapleton, Department of Labor
Moderator: Rich Wobbekind, CBE, University of Colorado Boulder

11:10 AM - 11:20 AM  Break
11:20 AM -12:20 PM

This session will feature presentations on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Business Employment Dynamics and Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, and the Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance program. Data from these programs are widely used to measure economic and entrepreneurial activity in the labor market and the overall health of the economy. The presenters will provide an overview of each program, including the methodology, data published, the scope and source of the data, the news releases produced by the programs, and uses and users of the data.

Track A  GDP and the National Accounts: The Building Blocks of the Economy  

Stephanie McCulla, Bureau of Economic Analysis
Kathleen Navin, CBE, IHS Markit
Moderator: Steve Landefeld, Consultant and Former Director, Bureau of Economic Analysis

This session will cover the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs), which are essential for understanding US economic activity.  Topics will include the structure of the NIPAs, the composition of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross Domestic Income, and the relationship between them, as well as important characteristics of real GDP and its components.   Session participants will learn how to properly calculate contributions to real growth and how to construct their own special aggregates using GDP components.

Track B  Consumers and The Economy

Scott Curtin, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Kevin Moore, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Moderator: Jack Kleinhenz, CBE, National Retail Federation

Adam Smith confidently states in The Wealth of Nations in 1776, “Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production.” To gain perspective on who, what, when, why and how of consumers, this session focuses on two sets of data that provide different views of the consumer dynamic:  the Survey of Consumer Expenditures and the Survey of Consumer Finances. The Bureau of Labor Statistics annual Consumer Expenditure Survey provides the most comprehensive and detailed data available on how consumers allocate their spending among the various components of total expenditures. The Federal Reserve board every three years provides data through the Survey of Consumer Finances that provides a comprehensive look of the financial state of households including important trends in income and wealth distribution, asset ownership and household borrowing patterns.   

12:20 PM - 1:00 PM  Lunch Break

1:00 PM - 2:10 PM  

Track A  Measuring Inflation: What It Measures and How It Is Measured

Steve Reed,  Bureau of Labor Statistics
Harvey Davis, Bureau of Economic Analysis
Moderator: Maurine Haver, CBE, Haver Analytics

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the change in the cost of living by measuring the change in price of a market basket of consumer goods and services. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will present an overview of the CPI. Topics covered will include the conceptual foundation of the CPI, seasonal adjustment, quality adjustment, initiation of items into the sample, and the treatment of new goods and sample rotation. A representative from the BEA will follow, comparing and contrasting the CPI with the chain-type Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index.  

Track B  Federal Reserve District Research and Surveys

Emily Kerr, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
Riley Sullivan, Federal Reserve Bank of  Boston
Scott Brave, Federal Reserve Bank of  Chicago 
Moderator: Keith R. Phillips, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

The Federal Reserve District Banks produce a vast array of regional reports and unique data series, many of which are not promoted or publicized. In this session, representatives from three Districts will discuss data and research produced for their region. Participants will have an opportunity to learn more about the unique regional data, current analysis and research projects produced at these District Banks.  

2:15 PM - 3:00 PM Keynote, Data Analytics and Rapid Response Policy Analysis in the COVID-19 Crisis
James Poterba, President, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)


Tuesday, September 1

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM  
Track A  International Transactions: A Balancing Act

Raymond Mataloni, Bureau of Economic Analysis
Manuel BalmasedaCBE, CEMEX
Moderator: Adolfo L. Laurenti, CBE, Visa 

The international statistics produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) describe the US economy’s relationship with the rest of the world. These statistics are presented in the international transactions accounts (Balance of Payments), the international investment position accounts, and in data on the operations of multinational companies. Session participants will learn what data are presented in these accounts, how they are structured, their key data sources, and how to access the data. 

Track B  Demographics
Gabriel Ehrlich, Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics (RSQE), University of Michigan
Elizabeth Garner, Colorado Department of Local Affairs
Moderator:  Michael W. Horrigan, CBE, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

This session will focus on a broad set of national demographic trends including a focus on population growth and birth and death rates by age, race and ethnicity.  The session will also examine trends in the labor force such as labor force participation rates and the role of migration, including international migration and  state in- and out-migration.  The speakers will also look at significant trends in demographics as they affect their own state and regional economies. Finally, we expect a robust discussion in the Q&A on how the world might change post-COVID in terms of where people work and live and the potential impact on state migration patterns.  

11:00 AM - 11:10 AM  Break 

11:10 AM - 12:10 PM  

Track A  Corporate Profits Data: From the NIPAs to the S&P

Kate Pinard, Bureau of Economic Analysis
Dick Rippe, CBE, Evercore ISI Group 
Moderator: Rosemary Marcuss, Economist

This session will clarify the difference between economic profits as reported in the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs) and profits reported by corporations in their financial statements. A speaker from the Bureau of Economic Analysis will cover what is included or not included in the NIPAs, special terminology such as IVA and CCA, and the source data used to derive NIPA profits. A data user will focus on the difference between financial and tax profits and those reported in the NIPAs and the reasons for using all of these different measures for the best understanding of trends in corporate profitability.

Track B  Understanding Monetary Policy 

Seth Carpenter, UBS
Peter Hooper, Deutsche Bank
Moderator: Dana Saporta, CBE 

The Federal Reserve has evolved over the past few decades from a secretive force in the financial system to a much more accessible, transparent institution. But even in the current era of openness, understanding the Central Bank and its operations remains a challenge. This session includes a broad discussion of the Fed's goals and tools by someone who has been on the "inside."  The panel then elicits an "outsider’s" perspective, with a business economist describing the practice of “Fedwatching” in the private sector.

12:10 PM - 1:00 PM Lunch Break

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Track A  Productivity: The Key to Understanding Economic Growth  

Chris Sparks, Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bob Shackleton, Congressional Budget Office
Moderator: Rich Wobbekind, CBE, University of Colorado Boulder 

This presentation will briefly review concepts behind the BLS measures of labor and multi-factor productivity and related series on outputs and inputs.  It will then discuss some of the properties of these series, both in the long run and over the business cycle.  The presentation will briefly analyze the relationship between productivity, output, labor hours, other inputs, compensation and unit labor costs.

Track B  Making Sense Out of Wages, Earnings, and Compensation 

Dave Talan, Bureau of Labor Statistics
John Robertson, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta 
Moderator: George KahnCBE, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

This session will present an overview of the major wage, earnings, and compensation measures produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These include measures from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW); the Current Employment Statistics (CES) Survey; the Current Population Survey (CPS); the Employment Cost Index (ECI) Program; and measures from the BLS Office of Productivity. Topics covered include the scope and measurement goals of the series, the methodological backgrounds on their construction, and trends in what the series are telling us about wages, earnings, and compensation.  

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM  The Relative Merits of Economic Data Produced by the Public and Private Sectors
John Stevens, Senior Associate Director, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

John Stevens has over 19 years of experience working as an economist and most recently as Senior Associate Director in the Division of Research and Statistics of the Federal Reserve Board.  His work has generally focused on the production of economic statistics, economic measurement using nontraditional data sources, forecasting, policy analysis and economic research.  He will talk about the kinds of data he uses from public and private sources, the relative benefits of each, complementarities, and questions one should keep in mind when working with the data.   He enjoys problem solving and will discuss some of the issues he has encountered when using nontraditional data sources.  

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM  Maintaining the Quality and Integrity of U.S. Government Data: A Discussion for Journalists and Economists 
Held in partnership with the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW)

William Beach
, Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics 
Mary Bohman, Acting Director and Deputy Director, Bureau of Economic Analysis
Ron S. Jarmin, Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer, United States Census Bureau
Moderator: Pallavi Gogoi, Chief Business Editor, NPR

Timely and reliable economic statistics are key to the work of both economists and journalists as they endeavor to grasp and crystallize the ever-evolving economic situation for their audiences. Threats to high-quality economic statistics include insufficient budgetary funding for the federal statistical system, resulting in cuts to programs and survey samples, and reduced survey response rates. The dynamic U.S. economy requires statistical agencies to constantly be modernizing, researching, and investing to ensure measurements keep pace. Join the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) and the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) for a panel discussion with senior officials from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the U.S. Census Bureau to learn how the agencies are innovating and evolving in a time of growing budgetary and political challenges. 

Offered in conjunction with this year's EMS, this panel discussion is free of charge to NABE members, SABEW members, and government employees.To register for this panel discussion only, please click here.


Wednesday, September 2

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM 
Track A  Financial Accounts: Understanding the Role and Value

Matthew Hoops, Federal Reserve Board
Kenneth Kim, CBE, KPMG
Moderator: George Kahn, CBE, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City 

The Financial Accounts of the US, also known as the Flow of Funds Accounts (FFA), present sources and uses of funds for different sectors of the economy. Together with the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPAs) produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), they form the national accounts for the US. This presentation will describe the matrix structure of the accounts, the sectors and instruments included in the accounts, and the underlying source data.  The Integrated Macroeconomic Accounts (IMA),  compiled jointly with BEA, will also be covered.

Track B  Secrets of Professional Forecasters

Dana Peterson, Citi
Ellen Zentner, Morgan Stanley 
Moderator: Dana SaportaCBE 

The sources of data used in economic forecasting are not limited to those produced by government statistical agencies. Other public, private and academic institutions generate regular, high-quality statistics, as well. In this session, two business economists responsible for providing economic outlooks will discuss a few non-governmental statistics they find to be especially useful.

11:00 AM - 11:10 AM Break 

11:10 AM  - 11:55 AM  Crises as Crucibles of Change
Stuart Mackintosh, CBE, Executive Director, The Group of Thirty

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM  Keynote
Loretta J. Mester, President and Chief Executive Officer,  Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
Introduction: Jack Kleinhenz, CBE, National Retail Federation




 indicates that this session is part of the CBE core curriculum.

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Advance Rates*

  • NABE Member Registration: $400
  • US Government Employee Registration: $400
  • Nonmember Registration (includes one-year NABE membership dues): $550
*Advance Deadline: August 26

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Scholarships Available

To be eligible for consideration, one must:

  • Have worked in the economics field for seven years or less
  • Currently be involved in a position that uses economic principles and theory
  • Hold an undergraduate degree or higher

Apply here

Application Deadline: August 7

NABE Diversity Scholars Program:

The NABE Foundation is also offering scholarships to minority students and early-career economists as part of the NABE Diversity Scholars Program. 

Apply here

Application Deadline: August 13

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