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The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is the center of the Eighth District of the Federal Reserve System. This District includes Arkansas, eastern Missouri, southern Illinois and Indiana, western Kentucky and Tennessee, and northern Mississippi.

FRED

One rate does not rule them all : Unemployment is uneven across U.S. counties

[embedded content] The graph above shows the annual civilian unemployment rate from 1948 to 2018, and here are some highlights: Ten years ago, after the Great Recession, the U.S. unemployment rate peaked at 9.6%. (The only higher unemployment rate in this series was 9.7%, in 1982.) It gradually came down to 3.9% in 2018, the lowest in fifty years. (The rate in 1969 was 3.5%.) But these national unemployment numbers mask the variation that exists across different regions in the U.S....

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Fixing the “Textbook Lag” with FRED (Part II) : Monetary policy in a world of ample reserves

[embedded content] Your economics textbook may still say the Federal Reserve uses open market operations to influence the federal funds rate. But in today’s economy, the Fed uses different policy tools. In simple terms, this is how monetary policy currently works: The FOMC sets a target range for the federal funds rate (FFR) and uses interest on excess reserves (IOER) and the overnight reverse repurchase agreement (ON RRP) facility to keep the FFR rate in the target range. (See our...

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Fixing the “Textbook Lag” with FRED (Part I) : Monetary policy in a world of ample reserves

[embedded content] Your economics textbook may still say the Federal Reserve uses open market operations to influence the federal funds rate. But in today’s economy, the Fed uses different policy tools. Before September 2008, when reserves were scarce, the Federal Reserve bought and sold relatively small quantities of Treasury securities to adjust the level of bank reserves and influence the federal funds rate (FFR). But we now live in an environment of ample reserves. As such, the...

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Comovements in monetary policy : Revealing international correlations with FRED

[embedded content] Reporters and Fed watchers in the U.S. usually think about monetary policy in a domestic framework. But because business conditions, including commodity prices, are correlated internationally, central banks tend to move their policy rates up and down together and their inflation and interest rates tend to be correlated. FRED makes it easy to see these international comovements of macro and policy variables. The first graph shows comovement in inflation rates from 1970...

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Oil prices and breakeven inflation rates revisited

[embedded content] In an earlier FRED Blog post, we highlighted the simultaneous decline in the 5-year breakeven inflation rate and the price of oil in 2014. (The 5-year breakeven inflation rates are obtained from 5-year Treasury inflation-indexed constant maturity securities and are thought to represent the market’s expectation of CPI at a 5-year horizon.) At that time, we argued that markets might have believed that the drop in oil prices reflected a slowing in global demand that...

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What’s normal for financial data? : “Norming” indicators such as the St. Louis Fed Financial Stress Index

[embedded content] Financial data are useful for many reasons. One (perhaps subtle) reason is that they are never revised. Markets determine the prices and quantities of assets at the time of the transaction and that’s that. As such, once you observe the value of a particular financial variable at a particular point in time, you know it will remain at that value forever. One might assume, then, that the St. Louis Fed Financial Stress Index, which includes 18 series of financial data to...

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The booms, blips, and dips of dot-com, telecom, and cultural transmissions : Employment in the information sector

[embedded content] Some call the past few decades a new industrial revolution, given the dynamic emergence of the information economy. The graph above shows employment in information services, and, indeed, there’s strong growth in the sector, especially up to the dot-com crash in 2000. But since then, the sector doesn’t seem to have expanded its payrolls much. In fact, once you take out the boom, current data seem to follow the previous trend. Now, the employment classification for...

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Where in the world are banks profitable? : World Bank data on ROA for 173 economies

[embedded content] There are many indicators to help us evaluate the U.S. economy, but international data are a little more limited. Which is why FRED is fortunate to have World Bank data to compare economic conditions across countries. Today, we look at how well banks are doing—according to their return on assets—all over the world. Measuring banks’ ROA is relatively simple: Aggregate the net income of all commercial banks in a country and divide this sum by their total assets. The...

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Uneven fortunes in U.S. industry : Tracking types of industrial production

[embedded content] This FRED graph shows three very different stories for three different types of goods production in the U.S. The clothing sector dominated the other two for about 60 of the 70 years shown in this sample, only to collapse in the first decade of the millennium and slowly decline thereafter. This shift is a direct consequence of cheaper manufacturing opportunities abroad. The automotive products sector has been steadily increasing its output, except for some hard times...

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Jealous of the Aleutian commute? : Census data show average U.S. commutes range from 5 to 45 minutes

[embedded content] FRED has all sorts of socioeconomic data beyond the traditional macroeconomic fare, and today we highlight data on commuting time provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. These data are available at the county level, which makes it possible to compare various areas of the country. In the graph above, we can see that commuting times on the coasts (New York and Los Angeles) are longer and have increased more rapidly than the commuting times in St. Louis. This should surprise...

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