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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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Loving unemployment : A Valentine’s Day post for Texas and Oklahoma

[embedded content]For Valentine’s Day, we embrace the subject of unemployment. Specifically, this graph shows the unemployment rate for 2 of the 3,000+ U.S. counties for which FRED has data: Love County in Oklahoma and Loving County in Texas. Besides their affectionate names, what’s so special about them? Loving County has a rather unusual unemployment rate: It can stay at 0% for several months in a row or it can shoot up to 16%. This is what happens when a county has only 134...

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How much cash is out there?

[embedded content]This graph shows U.S. dollars in circulation per capita—in other words, how much physical cash is held outside the Federal Reserve for each person living in the U.S. As of the November 2018 observation, that amount is $6,575. We checked, and no one on the FRED Blog team is holding that much cash right now. We assume not many of our readers would hold that much cash. So, who is holding it? Part of it may be lost. Much of it is held by domestic businesses and...

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Foreign direct investment

[embedded content]This FRED graph plots quarterly foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into the U.S. as a percent of GDP. And what is FDI? It's the flow of capital across borders when a firm owns a company in another country. But it’s more than simply owning stock in a foreign company: It implies that the investor is directly involved in the foreign company’s day-to-day operations. FDI is beneficial to job creation and a country’s growth. In the U.S., it began to pick up after 1975...

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100 years of industrial production data

[embedded content]In 1922, the Federal Reserve Board began offering its industrial production index, with data starting in January 1919—which means we now have 100 years of data! This series has been extremely useful in helping us gauge the state of the economy: At first, industrial production was basically the only data series available before the computation of GDP; and the data are published more frequently and quickly than GDP data. The disadvantage is that industrial production...

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How to gauge the world’s banking markets? Look to the World Bank

[embedded content]How competitive are countries' banking markets? It's a complicated question that requires some thought and effort to answer: First, there are several ways to measure competition. One way is to measure the concentration of market shares. But this method isn't perfect because there may still be substantial competition in a market with few players. Another way is to look at markups—that is, the difference between the price charged and the marginal cost (the cost of one...

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Risky business?

[embedded content]How much economic risk are businesses facing these days? FRED can help us consider what the market is telling us about the level of risk by showing us the yields of various types of corporate bonds. Moody's business is, in part, to classify corporate bonds according to their risk, and bonds within a rating should have the same level of risk through time. The yields of these bonds may still change, though, because they're driven mostly by a risk premium (which is...

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Capacity utilization

[embedded content]Economists are always looking for ways to better understand and predict the business cycle. Studying capacity utilization can help. Capacity is the maximum volume of productive resources that can be used by firms to produce goods. Capacity utilization is how much of that available capacity is actually being used to produce goods. The capacity index tries to measure the utilization rate of the available productive capacity in different sectors. It sheds light on how...

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Japan’s anti-retirement miracle

[embedded content] The graph above shows real GDP growth for two countries, Japan and the United States. It's pretty clear the U.S. growth rate has consistently been higher than Japan's. (Recently, there have been only a few quarters where Japan has higher growth.) But can we really compare these two growth rates? One important difference between the two countries is that the U.S. population is growing while Japan's is stagnant, if not declining. [embedded content] The second graph...

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Which workers quit more?

[embedded content] Obviously, workers move from job to job over time and across sectors of the economy. FRED has some convenient release tables you can use to create a graph like the one above, which shows the rate of voluntary turnover (quits) for workers in four sectors: accommodation and food services, retail trade, manufacturing, and government. It's striking that the ranking of these sectors doesn't change despite variations in their levels of employment over time. The...

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Do we live in uncertain times?

[embedded content] Ever wonder about the current state of the world? Well, FRED has two relevant indicators for the U.S. that may help you sleep better at night…or maybe worry even more. The first series calculates an index based on the proportion of newspaper stories that discuss uncertainty, changes to tax codes, and disagreement among forecasters. The second series relates more to market sentiment by looking at newspaper stories mentioning the economy, stock markets, and (again)...

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