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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

A closer look at labor in the U.S. : BLS state-level labor force participation rates

[embedded content] The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics collects all kinds of data on the labor force, employed persons, unemployed persons, and unemployment rates. FRED now offers the BLS’s labor force participation rates for the individual 50 states and the District of Columbia. With this new addition to FRED, we can easily track a state’s labor force participation rate over time and compare performance across states. By the way, the labor force participation rate is the number of all...

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U.S. Labor Before FRED Was Born : A happy-birthday backward glance at 1991

[embedded content] Today, FRED celebrates its 28th birthday. On this happy occasion, the whole family (FRED, ALFRED, GeoFRED, and the little one, FREDcast) are gathering to read the 2018 Annual Report of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, much of which is dedicated to FRED. Let’s look back at the U.S. economy before the birth of FRED (on April 18, 1991) and compare it with the economy of today. The graph above shows the unemployed according to the length of their unemployment spell:...

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Is the rent too high? : Way more than 525,600 minutes of rent data

[embedded content] If you’re a renter and have been complaining that your rent keeps rising, the statistics seem to back you up. In the graph, the purple line shows the evolution of rents in the U.S. as a whole, while the light blue line shows the general price level (CPI). Clearly, rents are increasing faster than prices overall. Of course, location matters for anything related to housing, and there are large regional differences: Rents in the New York and San Francisco areas have...

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Two trillion dollars in U.S. federal taxes : A breakdown of personal, corporate, and foreign sources of revenue

[embedded content]The deadline for filing personal income taxes is approaching fast, which you probably know. But how much do you know about the big picture for taxes? This FRED graph helps shed some light on the issue by showing the total amounts of federal taxes paid over the past 5 years, separated by the sources of those taxes. As of the fourth quarter of 2018, federal taxes amounted to over $2 trillion. Clearly, personal income taxes are far and away the largest contributor....

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The absence of return on short-term Treasuries : Cash vs. 1-month Treasury bills

[embedded content]Is it worth it to buy 1-month Treasury bills? The above FRED graph shows their returns in recent years: While they often get very close to zero, at least they’re positive.* But “positive” may not count for much since we have to account for inflation. So let’s redo the graph by subtracting inflation from the return. This exercise isn’t as simple as it might appear: First, we must factor-in inflation over the life of the bill, which is shorter than the period in...

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The big February employment miss

[embedded content]The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its most recent employment report on March 8: In February of this year, the nonfarm economy, on net, created only 25,000 private-sector jobs and 20,000 jobs overall. One part of this report is the establishment survey, which contributed some of the weakest numbers since the past recession. Forecasters failed to predict these anemic jobs numbers. In fact, before the report’s release, consensus market expectations foresaw...

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The most constant economic series ever

[embedded content]Here at the FRED Blog, we often represent economic measures such as consumption or investment as a share of GDP. (For example, a recent post looked at the trade balance as a share of GDP.) We do this to account for general growth and inflation: Most macroeconomic measures grow over time because (1) the overall economy grows and (2) prices tend to increase. For many economic questions, what really matters is how economic measures relate to other measures, such as GDP....

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Is gold a good hedge against inflation?

[embedded content]According to conventional wisdom, holding gold is a good way to protect oneself against inflation. But let’s try to understand this wisdom a little better with the help of some FRED graphs. The graph above simply shows the monthly general inflation rate (from the CPI) and the monthly gold inflation rate. But this line graph doesn’t offer a very clear picture: The fluctuations in the price of gold are much larger than those for prices in general. So, instead, let’s try...

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Is the financial sector becoming more productive?

[embedded content]The Great Recession adversely affected employment across all industries. Since the recovery began in 2010, employment has rebounded and the unemployment rate started declining. But this recovery in employment has not been uniform across industries. Employment in the financial sector has steadily declined as a share of total employment since the onset of the Great Recession. The financial sector averaged around 6.2% of total employment in the ten years preceding the...

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New data on burgeoning businesses : Business applications from the U.S. Census Bureau

View on GeoFRED® New businesses are typically very small, so they’re not necessarily a strong factor in overall job creation. But they are a first step in the important process of “creative destruction”—the replacement of old, unproductive businesses by new businesses with new ideas, technologies, and processes. Eventually some of these new businesses will grow and become important factors in the economy, and a healthy economy makes it easy for these new businesses to be created....

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