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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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Tracking economic progress for U.S. states : A map of the Philly Fed’s coincident indicators for 2016-2017

View on GeoFRED® The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia computes for each U.S. state a coincident indicator that combines information about employment, unemployment, hours worked, and wages. (These are state-level labor market data that are released reasonably quickly.) This coindcident indicator has a base of 100 in 1992; thus, the numbers indicate how well each state has performed since 1992. The map shows how well they have performed from December 2016 to December 2017. This means...

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The world map of inflation : Where is inflation the highest?

View on GeoFRED® FRED offers a wealth of global indicators from the World Bank. Today, we’re looking at inflation data. The map shows consumer price inflation across the world in 2015. (2016 numbers are still incomplete.) The two darkest colors indicate particularly high inflation rates: For the 2015 map, these rates are above 6%. Rates this high typically occur in countries where the central bank’s primary mandate is not to provide an environment with stable prices, but rather to...

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What’s real about wages? : A look at the increases and decreases in wages

[embedded content] People have been talking about the evolution of wages. Some say they’re increasing, others say they’re decreasing. Who’s right? As is so often the case in economics, it depends. First let’s look at the graph above, which has four different indicators for wages. Three of them show a clear and steady upward trend. But one of them—the green line, which shows median weekly earnings—is starkly different. It could be because the median is different from the mean if the...

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Cyclical asymmetry in the labor market : Slow but steady improvements versus sharp declines

 Have you ever spent hours on the beach meticulously building the perfect sandcastle, only for a bully to waltz by and kick it down in an instant? A similar phenomenon occurs in the labor market, as even the shortest recessions can undo years of progress made during an expansion. The unemployment rate tends to fall only gradually during economic expansions but rise sharply during recessions. This mismatch of slow declines versus sharp spikes is known as “cyclical asymmetry.” This...

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How’s manufacturing? : Depends on the sector

[embedded content] The industrial production (IP) index is a popular metric of economic activity because it’s available relatively quickly. This monthly data series covers only a part of economic activity, however. In particular, it misses the service sector and the government sector. The graph above shows its evolution since 1972 along with a subcomponent that covers only manufacturing. Note that the index is set at 100 in 2012, meaning that all the indexes will always cross in 2012. A...

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Measuring financial access : What can we learn from cross-country variations in households’ bank deposits?

View on GeoFRED® The International Monetary Fund compiles a financial access survey for most countries in the world. This survey allows us to compare metrics on how households and businesses in different countries participate in financial markets—as either borrowers or lenders. For this map, we chose one particular measure that determines how much households deposit in banks, with the latest numbers from 2015 as a share of that country’s GDP. The map highlights stark differences: The...

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New tax code = new price index = new tax bracket adjustments : How we measure price changes can affect our income tax

[embedded content] The new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changed both personal and corporate income taxes. Much of the discussion has focused on the changes in the tax rates, but there’s another change in this law that has an effect on personal income tax. A household’s tax obligation depends on the income bracket for their earned income. For example, a married couple earning $77,000 faces a tax rate of 12% on all income over $19,050. The next bracket starts at $77,400. While the new tax code...

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Up in the air : Air carrier capacity and use

[embedded content] Business or pleasure. Domestic or international. Air travel is a frequent fact of life for more and more people, and booking a flight is much easier than it used to be: A couple of clicks and you have your ticket. Unfortunately, airline logistics and operations are much more costly and complicated. Air travel technology and airport capacity have not progressed as quickly as online commerce. Crowds, delays, cancellations, and long layovers in airports are still part of...

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Metro area economic conditions : FRED has updated its Metro Area Economic Conditions Indexes through September 2017

View on GeoFRED® Last week the St. Louis Fed updated its estimates of economic growth through the third quarter of 2017 for 68 of the U.S.’s most populous metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). Average growth across these MSAs was 2.7 percent, which is consistent with the 2.3 percent year-over-year growth in U.S. real GDP during the same period. The data are summarized in a FRED release table called Economic Conditions Index by BEA Region (under the main category of Metro Area Economic...

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Nowcasting current activity : How’s the economy doing…now?

[embedded content] Forecasting, as we all know, tries to predict the future. For FRED’s purposes, that prediction is how a statistic will evolve. Nowcasting, a variant of forecasting, looks at the current state of a statistic that hasn’t yet been released because the period of coverage is not yet over. Nowcasting is one way to examine current economic activity; another was discussed in a previous post. GDP is a popular target for nowcasting, and FRED covers the nowcasts of several...

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