Claudia Sahm

Claudia Sahm

Formal First Name

Claudia Sahm is a highly-regarded expert on monetary policy, fiscal policy and forecasting. She is the Founder of Sahm Consulting, where she conducts cutting-edge, academic-style research, and the creator of the Sahm rule, a widely-used and highly accurate recession indicator. Claudia has policy and research expertise in macroeconomics, consumer spending, and household finance. Her research focuses on consumer behavior and preferences, including responses to fiscal stimulus, income expectations, and economic measurement. Claudia has advised decision-makers at the Federal Reserve, White House, and Congress. Previously, she was a Senior Fellow at the Jain Family Institute and a Director of Macroeconomic Policy at The Washington Center for Equitable Growth. She was a section chief in the Division of Consumer and Community Affairs at the Federal Reserve Board, where she oversaw the Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking. Before that, she worked for ten years in the Division of Research and Statistics on the staff’s macroeconomic forecast.

Professional Experience

Academic History


  • The Sahm Rule is a reliable early signal of recessions that she developed as a way to automatically trigger stimulus payments to individuals in a recession.

  • It uses the three-month moving of the U.S. unemployment rate. If the latest value of that series is 0.5 percentage points or more above its low over the prior twelve months, then the United States is in the early months of a recession

  • The Sahm rule has triggered within, but never outside, every recession since the 1970s.



  • Claudia directed the Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking, a national survey with 12,000 respondents, a $½ million budget, and an annual report.

  • She led the official staff macroeconomic forecasts for consumer spending, GDP, and business investment.

  • She utilized national accounts, consumer and business sentiment, time series modeling, microeconomic surveys, and academic research.