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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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Households’ lightening debt load : Data on the financial burden of U.S. households

[embedded content] There are many types of debt, including household debt, and many specific types of household debt as well. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System collects a wide and well-organized array of data on debt. These data, especially in graph form, can help us better understand the financial burdens of U.S. households. This FRED graph shows the percentage of disposable (i.e., after-tax) income that households dedicate to servicing specific types of debt. The...

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The price of a BLT : Slicing the layers of the CPI

Over the summer, FRED added 1,479 new series on average prices for a wide range of consumer items. Almost half of the new data are prices of foodstuffs, more than enough for a seven-course dinner. But to keep it simple, let’s make a traditional BLT sandwich: bacon, lettuce, and tomato on white bread. (Today, we’ll hold the mayo.) Like most things, the price of a BLT has risen over time, which you may have noticed at the local diner or in the supermarket. Let’s “go figure with FRED”...

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How food and fuel prices fluctuate : Detailed prices from the CPI

[embedded content] The consumer price index (CPI) follows the price of a basket of goods. The goods in the basket are determined by the purchases of an “average” U.S. household. Each item is tracked at multiple locations and for numerous varieties. The data are then aggregated to form the CPI. The CPI has been a part of FRED for quite some time (since the early days if not the very beginning). FRED also offers some finer slices of consumer price data. The graph includes three examples:...

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The Fed’s recent open market operations : A short history of overnight Treasury repurchase agreements

[embedded content] The June 13, 2019, FRED Blog post showed how, in a world of ample reserves, the FOMC sets a target range for the federal funds rate (FFR) and uses interest on excess reserves (IOER) and the overnight reverse repurchase agreement facility (ON RRP) to keep the FFR rate in the target range. Since July 2019, the FOMC has lowered the target range for the FFR twice, effectively injecting liquidity into the banking system. And, at the September 17-18 FOMC meeting, the...

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Low-income countries have more refugees : Refugee population trends from World Bank data

[embedded content] FRED has just added some refugee data from the World Bank that shows the number of refugees in each country since 1960. In the graph above, we chose to show the statistics from three groups of countries classified by level of income: For middle-income and high-income countries, refugees make up well below half a percent of the general population. In low-income countries, it’s substantially more (although the percentage has declined since the early 1990s). Why so?...

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A lesson on time series to get you started with FREDcast : Learn how to go from zero to forecasting hero

[embedded content] Two years ago, the St. Louis Fed introduced FREDcast, a forecasting game in the style of fantasy sports. In FREDcast, users enter a forecast for four economic time series each month: GDP, payroll employment, the unemployment rate, and CPI. Now in its third year, FREDcast is growing in popularity and taking hold at some major universities. The motivation behind FREDcast has been to lower the barriers of forecasting macroeconomic time series, and the game is designed so...

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Where do states get their tax revenue? : Income, sales, fuel, corporate, property, license, tobacco, alcohol…

[embedded content] State governments run on tax revenue in much the same way the federal government does. The FRED graph above shows the specific shares of state tax revenue from many sources. The two major sources are sales tax and individual income tax. While there’s a clear seasonal pattern (mostly from income taxes), there are no strong trends: The shares seem rather stable. If we look a little more closely, though, we can see a shift from corporate income tax to individual income...

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Zoom in on unemployment : GeoFRED maps and BLS data help us view unemployment up close

View on GeoFRED® The U.S. is a large, diverse country with many differences in sectoral composition, demographics, geography, labor mobility, climate, and much more. FRED recently added a bunch of data on U.S. unemployment rates, which is a dataset with its own diverse set of differences and facets. This post explores one of those facets: geographies. We often hear about the national unemployment rate, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a decomposition of unemployment at many...

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What’s a countercyclical capital buffer? : A new monetary policy tool, that’s what

[embedded content] The Federal Reserve has tools to achieve its monetary policy goals: the discount rate, reserve requirements, open market operations, the interest rate on reserves… and now also the countercyclical capital buffer (CCyB). The CCyB is intended to avoid the banking failures of the Great Recession by ensuring individual banks and the banking sector as a whole have enough capital on hand to provide a flow of credit to the economy without jeopardizing the solvency of this...

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