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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.

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Eat, drink, and be thankful : Tracking prices of the Thanksgiving meal

[embedded content] Turkey, cornbread, sweets, and more. It’s no wonder 27% of Americans say their favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, according to a 2004 Gallup Poll. And the National Retail Foundation estimates that shoppers spend an average of about $300 per person during the long weekend. Some of that spending is on gifts and holiday sales. Here, we’ll focus on a costs specific to the Thanksgiving Day meal. The International Monetary Fund tracks the global prices of a number of food...

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Where is subprime? : Mapping the distribution of subprime borrowers by county

View on GeoFRED® The “subprime credit population”—those with credit scores below 650—received much attention during and after the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Are these borrowers concentrated in certain areas or evenly distributed across the country? FRED’s county-level data from Equifax maps out the percentage of each county’s population that’s classified as subprime. The geographic disparities are quite large. At the high end, in Kenedy County, Texas, almost 56% of the population has...

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The full banana of the labor market : An update on the Beveridge curve

[embedded content] Three and a half years ago, we published a blog post about the Beveridge curve featuring the graph above, which shows how job vacancies and unemployment relate to each other. Each dot represents their values at a particular date. Beveridge’s theory is that these two measures don’t form a kinked line along the axes in a scatter plot, but rather a banana shape. This shape occurs because of delays and frictions in the job market: Vacancies and job seekers take time to...

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The “youngest” and “oldest” places to live : Age differences across the U.S.

View on GeoFRED® Much is said about the ethnic patchwork of the United States, but this map highlights another kind of diversity: age. FRED’s county-level data on the age distribution of the U.S. population show large variations across the country and also within states. The spread of the range is also surprising. The youngest median age, 21.4 years, is in Lexington City County, Virginia—a small county that hosts two universities. The oldest median age, 65.3 years, is in Sumter County,...

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Where have all the workers gone? : A smaller working-age population could mean less growth

[embedded content] How much an economy can produce depends to a large extent on the number of persons who are old enough to work but not too old to work. One can try to make sure there are employment opportunities, but obviously you need workers. The graph shows two measures of the “working age” population for the United States, based on different age spans. The 15- to 64-year-old range covers everyone who could work up to the hypothetical retirement age of 65. The 25- to 54-year-old...

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There’s death and then there’s death : Two GeoFRED maps of premature death rates

View on GeoFRED® FRED and, by extension, GeoFRED have two sets of county-level statistics on premature deaths: the raw measure shown in the map above and the age-adjusted measure shown in the map below. What’s the difference? First, we need to define premature death. Statistically, for our purposes here, it’s a death occurring before age 75, which is roughly the life expectancy at birth for the average U.S. resident. However, the data shown in the top map do not take into account the...

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Incomes determine house prices : An illustration for San Francisco

[embedded content] Ask someone in San Francisco what that area’s major problem is and they’ll likely complain about housing prices and how they keep getting worse. The first graph shows us this complaint is likely accurate. Indeed, house prices in the Bay Area have increased faster than the national average, with a significant run-up around the year 2000. Why has this been happening? Are people flocking there and has the increased demand for housing driven up the prices? [embedded...

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Demographic distribution: the young and the old around the world

View on GeoFRED® Demographic change has been at the center of recent economic discussions—especially issues related to aging populations in advanced economies. In the U.S., one question is how the retirement of the Baby Boom generation may slow down the economy. In this post, we use GeoFRED to display the distributions of older (65 years or more) and younger (14 years or less) individuals in different countries around the world and then make some connections to the levels of economic...

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Crowds in the air : Graphing airfares and passenger load factors

[embedded content] Do you feel lucky if no one sits beside you on an airplane? Lucky might be the right word for it: According to data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the chance of having an empty seat next to you has been getting slimmer over time. Over the past two decades, passenger load factors in the U.S. have been rising as air travel has gotten more crowded. Roughly speaking, passenger load factor is the average percentage of airplane seats...

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Extra, extra, read all about it! : There’s more to the story than headline unemployment

[embedded content] Earlier this month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported September’s unemployment rate was 4.2% and the number of unemployed persons decreased by over 300,000. Does that mean every one of those 300,000 individuals found a job? Many Americans view decreases in unemployment positively, but there’s more to the unemployment story than just the headline. The reported unemployment rate is a proportion of members of the civilian labor force who have actively but...

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