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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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Early economic effects from “safer at home” practices : What Census data from the Quarterly Services Survey can show us

[embedded content] Social distancing and “safer at home” practices have been in effect for many months now, so what do the data show us so far? These protective measures have had widespread effects across the economy; but some industries were affected much more quickly, as behavioral changes predated any official stay-at-home directives. Our first example is transportation revenue, which varied according to whether people or goods were being transported: The graph above shows the...

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The increasing appetite for air conditioning : Tracking changes in the output of electric and gas utilities

[embedded content] The FRED Blog often discusses the regular economic ups and downs that occur over the course of a year (eg, fruit and house prices). Today, we look at some big changes in the seasonal pattern of electricity and gas production. The data are from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System—specifically, the Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization (G.17) survey—which show the quarterly changes in the industrial production of electricity and gas...

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The pandemic’s impact on North American GDP: Checking on the neighbors

[embedded content] An earlier FRED Blog post discussed the global scale of the ongoing pandemic. Today, we focus on some recent GDP values in North America, comparing inflation-adjusted growth for Canada, the United States, and Mexico. The data shown in this FRED graph are from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which uses the label “GDP in constant prices,” which is a synonym for “real GDP.” (Btw, FRED tends to adopt the series names used by the data...

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What’s happened so far with the return on safe and liquid assets?

[embedded content] Today, we use an assortment of FRED data to consider a straightforward question: What has happened to the returns on safe assets (in this case, Treasury securities) since the pandemic hit? We look especially at the possible contributions of inflation expectations and demand for liquidity. The FRED graph above shows nominal rates for the 1-year Treasury (dark blue) and the 5-year Treasury (red) the difference between the “instantaneous” 5-year-ahead Treasury rate and...

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Seasonality in food prices: A bountiful harvest of FRED data

[embedded content] The FRED Blog has discussed shocks to meat and fish prices related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shocks are unexpected changes in the supply or demand of a product or commodity that results in a sudden change in its price. Today, we discuss how the timing of harvesting seasons results in predictable changes in the prices of fresh fruit. The FRED graph above uses data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index, Average Price Data release: It shows the...

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Retail sales in a pandemic recession : Diverse tales by sectors

[embedded content] The FRED graph above shows retail sales for the last year and a half. Of course, the pandemic has had a huge impact, with a severe drop and a quick recovery. But the retail sector is large and diverse. So let’s look at various layers of it. [embedded content] This graph is one of the strangest looking ones we’ve ever shown on this blog. And it tells very different stories. Let’s go through them one by one. (Hover over the legend in the graph to better see the...

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The high(er) price of health

[embedded content] Our purchases cost more and more over time, given inflation. Tracking the price index for personal consumption expenditures is one way to measure inflation. And the FRED graph above shows that, since 2000, personal consumption expenditures (purple line) have become 40% more expensive. This amounts to an annual rate of inflation of about 1.8%. Price indexes can be computed for specific spending categories as well—such as food, energy, and health. The Health...

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Supply and demand shocks to food prices: FRED data à la carte : Rising meat prices, falling fish prices

[embedded content] In an earlier post, the FRED Blog discussed the price changes of a classic lunch option. Today, we discuss some dinner options, showing how the market prices for “surf and turf” have changed recently. The Turf The graph above uses U.S. consumer price data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to show the percent change in price from a year ago for three “turf” dining options: pork, beef, and chicken. (Btw, We use percent changes from a year ago to account for any...

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The impact of recessions on net worth : Uneven experiences by wealth quantile

[embedded content] Recessions take their toll in many ways, including on households’ net worth, a stock variable that measures the difference between the value of the assets and the value of the liabilities, or obligations, a person has accumulated over a lifetime. And, as you might expect, FRED has data on this topic. We made some adjustments to the FRED graph shown here that could use a little explanation: We started with a graph of households separated into four different classes...

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Consumption of goods and services during the COVID-19 recession : Some shirts, some shoes, but a lot less service

[embedded content] First, some background on the line graphs shown above and below: The zero “date” is the start of a recession. The x-axis “periods” are the number of months after the start date. And the data are from the BEA’s Personal Income and Outlay survey. Now, what do they show? The main revelation is that real personal consumption expenditures on services have decreased since February 2020, the start of the current recession. And, at the time of this writing, expenditures on...

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