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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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How inflation helps the stock market set records

The news regularly reports that this or that stock market index has reached new heights. What does that really mean? Economies tend to grow, whether it’s their population or their productivity, so it’s natural that their economic statistics would also increase. Prices generally increase as well, which means that even if an economy doesn’t grow, economic measures will increase. That is, if those measures aren’t cleared of general price inflation (“deflated”). Eventually, any stock index...

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Ceasing emergency federal unemployment benefits: A look at the latest state-level data

The federal government has provided emergency unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to states since March 2020 to supplement their regular state programs. On June 12, 2021, Alaska, Iowa, Mississippi, and Missouri will stop accepting those benefits. Over the next several weeks, 21 other states will also withdraw from these federal emergency UI benefit programs. These 25 states are withdrawing from these federal emergency programs before their federally legislated closure in...

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Teenagers’ labor force participation : BLS data on the evolution of summer jobs

The FRED Blog has compared employment among teenagers with employment among older workers: Teens no longer participate in the labor market with the same vigor as they did up to 1978. That post also showed how teen employment is clearly seasonal, spiking during the summer when school’s out. The FRED graph above plots the monthly, not seasonally adjusted labor force participation rate of those 16 to 19 years old (purple spikes) along with the annual, seasonally adjusted value (black...

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A V-shaped recovery : Tracking GDP in the G-7 through COVID-19

The pandemic-driven recession started in the first quarter of 2020. After a  year, it appears the recession is nearly at an end. The FRED graph above tracks this downturn in GDP for countries in the G-7, all indexed to 100 in Q4 2019. The full legend is large, so we’ve removed it from this graph. Simply mouse over the graph to read the series titles and identify the countries: solid red = U.S., purple dash-dots = Japan, green dots = Canada, orange dots = France,  green dashes =...

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The distribution of patents across U.S. states : Tracking innovation for Californians, Massachusettsans, Idahoans, Mainers, etc. etc.

FRED Blog posts have discussed patent royalties, R&D, and the balance of payments and the changing geography of U.S. innovation. Today, we tap into a recently added data set from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to discuss the distribution of patented new ideas across U.S. states. The GeoFRED map above shows the number of patents registered in each state during 2019, which is the latest available data point as of this writing. The total number of new patents for the whole...

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The jump in used car prices

Economic restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic are being loosened, and economic activity is beginning to pick up. That’s expected to generate temporary increases in consumer price inflation. Over the past few months, prices for energy commodities and services have increased. But the largest monthly change in the April 2021 CPI belonged to another sector: used cars and trucks. The FRED graph above shows that year-over-year growth in used vehicle prices reached 21% in April 2021,...

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Savings are now more liquid and part of “M1 money” : Regulation D has made savings deposits as convenient as currency

Money is marvelously nuanced. Because different assets can be used as money, we need several categories and definitions to keep track of it. M1 describes the most liquid and widely accepted assets used to easily settle transactions: currency, demand deposits, and highly liquid accounts. A previous FRED blog post discussed how recent changes in the opportunity cost of money and the regulation of savings accounts have affected measures of the money stock (a.k.a. monetary aggregates). In...

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Quits vs. layoffs in recessions and pandemics

The FRED graph above compares job separations and hires in the U.S. economy. Usually there are more hires than separations; that is, the number of employed people increases except during recessions. As we see in the graph, the recovery after the 2008-09 recession was remarkable in that hires were greater than separations in almost every month. Of course, this graph is dominated by the wild swings during the pandemic. So let’s look at the details of these separations. The FRED graph...

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Comparing price growth for homes and stock shares

The FRED Blog has discussed how stock market fluctuations don’t accurately reflect overall economic conditions in the U.S. Today, we throw real estate prices into the mix and see what patterns we can find. The FRED graph above tracks total stock shares in blue and Case-Shiller national home prices in red during the most recent economic downturn. We use an index equal to 100 in the first quarter of 2020, the start of the COVID-19-induced recession, to help us easily compare these growth...

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In poor countries, no richer but living longer? : World Bank data on life expectancy and GDP in low-income vs. high-income countries

The World Bank has many data series that allow comparisons among countries over time, and today’s FRED graph reveals some trends in life expectancy and national income. Lower life expectancy in low-income countries has been catching up. In 1982, life expectancy at birth in low-income countries was about 66% of what it was in high-income countries. Then life expectancy increased at a faster pace in low-income countries, and the value rose to 78% by 2018. This rising longevity,...

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