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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

Getting back to normal? : Normalization of the federal funds rate may not look so normal

[embedded content] This FRED graph shows the federal funds rate for approximately the past 10 years. This is the interest rate that the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) targets. It’s easy to see that this interest rate has been low for most of the period shown here. But lately it’s been soaring. Or so it seems. The FOMC is currently pursuing a policy of normalization: They’re getting the federal funds rate back to “normal.” Of course, in the graph above, the rate doesn’t look...

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The state of education…or, rather, the education of states

View on GeoFRED® GeoFRED can help us track aspects of education, which can vary significantly among U.S. states. This map shows the fraction of those 25 years or older who have completed a bachelor’s degree. The data are from 2012 (the last year the Census Bureau published such statistics) for the 50 states plus Washington, DC. Darker shades represent a higher fraction of those with a bachelor’s degree. Clearly, there are large disparities in educational attainment: Our nation’s capital...

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Trends in capacity utilization around the world

[embedded content] The capacity utilization rate of a country is constructed as the percentage of resources (i.e., labor and capital) used by corporations and factories to produce enough finished goods to meet demand. In normal times, factories tend to use around 80% of their available productive resources. (Want to learn more?) The graph above shows the evolution of capacity utilization in the U.S. (light blue), Brazil (red), the U.K. (green), and Germany (purple) from 2000:Q1 to...

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Money makes the world go round…and goes round the world : The impact of migration and remittances

View on GeoFRED® According to the World Bank, 3.4% of the world’s population lives outside their nation of birth. For many, migration serves as a means of improving economic well-being, escaping violence and persecution, or finding education and employment. Although immigrants frequently separate from friends and family who remain in their place of origin, they often stay connected. In fact, those living abroad sent over $570 billion to their home countries in 2016, which is more than...

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Despite the recovery, paying the mortgage can still be a hurdle : Comparing mortgage, credit card, and commercial real estate delinquency rates

 It’s widely believed that the burst of the housing bubble triggered the Great Recession in 2007. That recession has been over for almost a decade, but the delinquency rate for single-family residential mortgages remains higher than it was before the recession. The blue line plots this mortgage delinquency rate on a quarterly basis since 2002. The delinquency rate was 3.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, which is nearly 2 percentage points higher than its average 2002-2007 value...

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There’s electricity in the air! But it’s not for sale : The production of electricity is outpacing sales

[embedded content] If you follow the energy sector, you know we’re living through interesting times. Energy sources are going through a slow but steady transformation: from traditional fossil fuels such as oil and coal to natural gas, wind, and sun. Given these changes, new companies are entering the energy production industry. The graph above shows that electricity production in the United States has steadily grown; and, about 10 years ago, it plateaued. Electricity sales, however,...

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The cost of owing : How rising interest rates can affect the federal government’s debt payments

[embedded content] Rising interest rates mean higher interest rates on debt payments, which means it becomes more expensive to buy a home, buy a car, or even go to college. It also becomes more expensive for the federal government to finance its debt. As interest rates rise, payments on federal government debt also increase. The FRED graph above shows federal government expenditures with interest payments since January 1990: As federal debt has risen, expenditures on interest payments...

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Is the U.S. becoming less charitable? : A brief analysis of tax returns

[embedded content] One may not feel very charitable while filing a tax return, but FRED data can at least help you understand something about charity in this country. The Internal Revenue Service provides some interesting statistics on how tax returns use various line items. The graph above shows two line items that can be linked to charity. The first is deductible charitable contributions, which have declined since the mid 2000s, despite an increase along the way. Not everyone, though,...

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A housing recovery without homeowners

[embedded content] Historically, the cost of buying a house has been positively correlated with the percent of households that own their home. During 1996 to 2006 in the United States, both the price of houses and the homeownership rate increased. This increasing trend ended abruptly with the global financial crisis, which saw house prices plunge and drove homeownership rates to historically low levels. If homeownership became less attractive in the wake of the financial crisis, we...

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Timing the market for tax purposes : Realizing capital gains when tax rates are lower

 If you’re a U.S. resident, you’ve probably already filled out your tax forms. (Unless you like procrastinating. In which case, you’ve got one month left.) FRED has plenty of data from the Internal Revenue Service that describe tax filings. Some series count the number of individuals filing and the amounts in various parts of their tax declarations. This graph shows the number of people declaring net capital gains. Clearly, the number decreased significantly when the stock market was...

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