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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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Referring to the interest paid on reserves : A rate by any other name…

The Fed’s monetary policy tools are used to promote maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates in the U.S. economy. These tools evolve over time as the economy evolves, and so it makes sense the terms that describe these tools also change. The FRED graph above shows three different interest rates the Board of Governors has set on the reserve balances commercial banks keep at their corresponding Federal Reserve Banks. The time frame is between October 9,...

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Where CPI inflation isn’t so high : Including a closer look at rents

There’s no doubt that consumer price inflation is relatively high. The consumer price index (CPI), though, is a composite of the prices of many goods and services. Thus, some show even higher inflation, such as energy and transportation, and others show lower inflation. This is what the FRED graph above is all about. The blue bar shows overall CPI inflation. The other bars display specific categories with lower-than-average inflation. For example, both education and health services,...

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Regional differences in mean and median family income : Growing inequality across and within regions

The FRED Blog has examined family incomes in the United States before, specifically the typical (or median) family income and its growing gap relative to the average (or mean) family income. Here, we revisit the topic of regional income inequality by comparing differences in the evolution of median and mean family income. The FRED graph above uses U.S. Census data to show how different the typical (or median) family income is from the mean (or average) family income. The graph is...

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The new St. Louis Fed Macro Snapshot

People who work with economic data are familiar with the most popular indicators in FRED—the unemployment rate, GDP, interest rates, etc. But FRED contains close to a million data series, each of which can be modified and presented in various ways. Given the sheer size and scope of FRED, it can be difficult to know which other series you should focus on if you want to better understand the current economy. You may ask yourself, “Well, what do economists and policymakers look at—and how...

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Revisions and updates to CPI data : Recalculating seasonal adjustment factors and expenditure weights

The FRED Blog has used ALFRED graphs to discuss the regular revisions to employment data and the periodic updates to real gross domestic product data. Here, once again, we tap into ALFRED to discuss revisions and updates to consumer price index (CPI) data. The bars in the ALFRED graph above show the annual CPI inflation rates between 2018 and 2021 using two different vintages of CPI data: before (in red) and after (in blue) the January 2022 revision and update to the CPI data. The...

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The latest on homeownership: race and region

Homeownership is a significant part of the American economy—and, from many perspectives, the American Dream. Given the recent talk about rising house prices, one could ask whether prices are higher because ownership is higher or whether ownership is lower because houses have become less affordable. These topics are always complicated, but maybe a glance at the homeownership rate could help. The FRED graph above shows the recent evolution of the homeownership rate, but the verdict...

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Gaslighting gas prices : What’s behind the recent surge of prices at the pump?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has amplified concerns about the price of gasoline. And for good reason: In March, prices at the pump surged over $4 per gallon for the first time since July 2008. This increase is more than 50% above prices in March 2021, which were about $2.80 per gallon. Gas at $4 per gallon sounds scary, but are real gas prices really that high? By real prices, we mean prices that take overall inflation into account. To investigate, we compare nominal gas prices (the...

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Comprehensive updates to real GDP : Periodic improvements to economic statistics

The FRED Blog sometimes taps into ALFRED, the archive of historical versions (or vintages) of FRED data. Today’s post does just that to discuss how the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) periodically updates its quarterly and annual gross domestic product (GDP) figures to produce more accurate and complete figures of overall economic activity. The ALFRED graph above shows seven different vintages of real GDP for the second quarter* and third quarter of 1991. The vintage dates included...

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How important are fuel excise taxes?

As gas prices have soared, various polities have proposed the reduction or temporary elimination of excise taxes on fuel, to provide relief to households. There are various issues attached to this proposal, and we touch on a few in this post. How much relief would this provide? To answer this question, we propose the FRED graph above, where we express the fuel excise taxes at the state and federal levels and express them as a percentage of disposable income. (That is, the income that...

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Increased spending on internet services : Disruption and innovation in communication

The FRED Blog has looked into internet use rates around the world. Today, we bring the topic of internet services back to the United States by visualizing the fraction of personal consumption expenditures on communication services taken up by the internet between 1987 and 2021. The FRED graph above shows the three categories of personal consumption expenditures on communication services currently reported by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis: Telecommunication services (in blue):...

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