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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

Employer contributions : The steep climb of supplemental wage benefits

[embedded content] Employees get paid, and their compensation can be divided into (a) wages and salaries and (b) supplements to wages and salaries. The Bureau of Economic Analysis defines supplements to wages and salaries as “employer contributions for employee pension and insurance funds and employer contributions for government social insurance.” This FRED graph shows the fraction of supplements to wages and salaries in total employee compensation from 1950 to 2017. (Note: A past FRED...

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The usual suspects (behind U.S. trade deficits): China, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Germany : A long-term lineup of U.S. trading partners

[embedded content] According to economic theory, countries should export goods in which they have a comparative advantage in production and import those in which they don’t. For several years, the U.S. has been the number 1 importer and the number 2 exporter in the world. But the U.S. has recently imposed tariffs on imports from several foreign nations, citing the growing U.S. trade deficit as a main reason. So let’s use FRED to examine the overall picture of the U.S. trade deficit and...

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The data behind the fear of yield curve inversions

[embedded content] FRED can help us make sense of the recent discussions about an inverted yield curve. But first, some definitions to get us started: The yield curve is the difference (or spread) between the yield on the 10-year Treasury bond and the yield on a shorter-term Treasury bond—for example, the 3-month or the 1-year. The yield curve is flattening if short-term rates are increasing relative to long-term rates, which is what’s been happening lately. The yield curve is inverted...

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Unemployment rates by occupation : Layoffs are more likely for some jobs

[embedded content] This FRED graph shows the unemployment rates for various occupations. What’s striking is that, over the 18-year sample period, the ordering hardly changes. Of course, the magnitude of unemployment responds to what’s happening in the overall economy. But management occupations and professionals, for example, always have the lowest unemployment rates by quite a margin. Mining, agriculture, construction, and maintenance have the highest unemployment rates, whether the...

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When economies just don’t grow : Some countries suffer from long-term economic stagnation

[embedded content] In general, economies grow. They do this by accumulating capital (machinery, structures, infrastructure), increasing higher education, and making technological progress. Sometimes they shrink for a time because of recessions, but the general trend is for economies to move upward. Yet, there are a few countries that have stagnated or even shrunk over the longer run. The graph shows five of these countries. (By the way, we use real GDP per capita so that population...

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Tumultuous tax brackets : U.S. income tax brackets have varied (sometimes wildly) over time

[embedded content] Income tax law is complex and many of its variables change over time. One much-discussed example is its progressivity―that is, how much the tax rate increases when taxable income increases. In the United States, this progression is determined by a system of brackets: Once a taxable income threshold is reached, any additional income is taxed at a higher rate (the so-called marginal tax rate). The number of those brackets, the incomes at which they kick-in, the...

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Predicting the payroll employment numbers

[embedded content] Most people look forward to Fridays in general, but data analysts and economists eagerly await one in particular: the Friday when the BLS’s employment situation is published. Two headline figures in this release are the unemployment rate and total nonfarm payrolls. These numbers are still subject to revision after their initial release. For example, the payroll numbers are based on about 70% of the surveyed businesses, and that number gradually increases to about 94%...

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War: Spending spikes and new steady states : Historical data on how conflict has changed U.S. government expenditures

[embedded content] History books are full of wars, and economic data are even categorized by their timing before and after wars. In this post, FRED taps into the NBER Macrohistory Database to track the expenditures of the U.S. federal government from 1879 to 1947—which includes plenty of conflict. Obviously, these expenditures have grown tremendously because the U.S. has grown tremendously since its Civil War, in both population and per capita terms. But this growth hasn’t been uniform....

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Which states are most invested in trade with China and Canada? : The geographic distribution of U.S. exports

View on GeoFRED® If you follow this blog, chances are you’ve run across at least some standard economic theories. For example, (1) countries export what they can produce at a comparative advantage and import the other stuff and (2), with nearly unequivocal agreement, free trade is seen as beneficial overall for trading partners. You may also be following the escalating tensions between the U.S. and its trading partners (China, Canada, Mexico, Europe, etc.) over tariffs enacted by the...

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Do imports subtract from GDP? : A basic explanation of GDP = C + I + G + (X-M)

[embedded content] The typical textbook treatment of GDP is the expenditure approach, where spending is categorized into the following buckets: personal consumption expenditures (C); gross private investment (I); government purchases (G); and net exports (X – M), composed of exports (X) and imports (M). Textbooks often capture this in one relatively simple equation: GDP = C + I + G + (X – M). Notice that, here, imports (M) are subtracted. On the surface, this implies that an extra...

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