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Did the West Coast Port Dispute Contribute to the First-Quarter GDP Slowdown?

Mary Amiti (), Tyler Bodine-Smith, Michele Cavallo and Logan Lewis ()
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Michele Cavallo: https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/michele-cavallo.htm

No 20150702, Liberty Street Economics from Federal Reserve Bank of New York

Abstract: The decline in U.S. GDP of 0.2 percent in the first quarter of 2015 was much larger than market analysts expected, with net exports subtracting a staggering 1.9 percentage points (seasonally adjusted annualized rate). A range of factors is being discussed in policy circles to try to understand what contributed to this decline. Factors such as the strong U.S. dollar and weak foreign demand are usually incorporated in forecasters' models. However, the effects of unusual events such as extremely cold weather and labor disputes are more difficult to quantify in standard models. In this post, we examine how the labor dispute at the West Coast ports, which began in the middle of 2014, might have affected GDP growth. Although the dispute started as early as July 2014, major disruptions to international trade did not surface until 2015:Q1. By that time, export and import growth through the West Coast ports in the first quarter were 14 percentage points to 20 percentage points lower than growth through other ports.

Keywords: imports; ports; exports; GDP (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F00 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015-07-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mac
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