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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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Oil prices and breakeven inflation rates revisited

[embedded content] In an earlier FRED Blog post, we highlighted the simultaneous decline in the 5-year breakeven inflation rate and the price of oil in 2014. (The 5-year breakeven inflation rates are obtained from 5-year Treasury inflation-indexed constant maturity securities and are thought to represent the market’s expectation of CPI at a 5-year horizon.) At that time, we argued that markets might have believed that the drop in oil prices reflected a slowing in global demand that...

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What’s normal for financial data? : “Norming” indicators such as the St. Louis Fed Financial Stress Index

[embedded content] Financial data are useful for many reasons. One (perhaps subtle) reason is that they are never revised. Markets determine the prices and quantities of assets at the time of the transaction and that’s that. As such, once you observe the value of a particular financial variable at a particular point in time, you know it will remain at that value forever. One might assume, then, that the St. Louis Fed Financial Stress Index, which includes 18 series of financial data to...

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The booms, blips, and dips of dot-com, telecom, and cultural transmissions : Employment in the information sector

[embedded content] Some call the past few decades a new industrial revolution, given the dynamic emergence of the information economy. The graph above shows employment in information services, and, indeed, there’s strong growth in the sector, especially up to the dot-com crash in 2000. But since then, the sector doesn’t seem to have expanded its payrolls much. In fact, once you take out the boom, current data seem to follow the previous trend. Now, the employment classification for...

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Where in the world are banks profitable? : World Bank data on ROA for 173 economies

[embedded content] There are many indicators to help us evaluate the U.S. economy, but international data are a little more limited. Which is why FRED is fortunate to have World Bank data to compare economic conditions across countries. Today, we look at how well banks are doing—according to their return on assets—all over the world. Measuring banks’ ROA is relatively simple: Aggregate the net income of all commercial banks in a country and divide this sum by their total assets. The...

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Uneven fortunes in U.S. industry : Tracking types of industrial production

[embedded content] This FRED graph shows three very different stories for three different types of goods production in the U.S. The clothing sector dominated the other two for about 60 of the 70 years shown in this sample, only to collapse in the first decade of the millennium and slowly decline thereafter. This shift is a direct consequence of cheaper manufacturing opportunities abroad. The automotive products sector has been steadily increasing its output, except for some hard times...

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Jealous of the Aleutian commute? : Census data show average U.S. commutes range from 5 to 45 minutes

[embedded content] FRED has all sorts of socioeconomic data beyond the traditional macroeconomic fare, and today we highlight data on commuting time provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. These data are available at the county level, which makes it possible to compare various areas of the country. In the graph above, we can see that commuting times on the coasts (New York and Los Angeles) are longer and have increased more rapidly than the commuting times in St. Louis. This should surprise...

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500 for the FRED Blog : Recognizing the FRED team and its partners

This is the 500thh post for the FRED Blog, which is a great opportunity to acknowledge all those who make FRED the wonderful data tool that it is. First, there’s the FRED team itself. These dedicated data specialists and web developers sustain and expand FRED’s structure and service. Of course, the fuel behind FRED is data and FRED’s mission is to disseminate the data. So, it’s the work of 87 data-producing institutions and agencies that allow FRED to do this—by collecting and...

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The U.S. trades with Cuba? : Some exceptions to the embargo

[embedded content] Yes, there is U.S. trade with Cuba despite the embargo, as the graph above shows. The vast majority of the trade is U.S. exports to Cuba, especially since 2002, mainly in the form of agricultural goods and medication. The U.S. government relaxed the embargo for humanitarian purposes in 2000, but Cuba started to take advantage of this only in November 2001, after Hurricane Michelle. If you look closely along the black horizontal line, you’ll see there is also a little...

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Just the facts, ma’am : Embracing seasonality in national accounts data

[embedded content] Usually, if you have the choice, you want to look at macroeconomic data that have been seasonally adjusted. This adjustment lets you compare periods within any year without being misled by the various fluctuations that occur every year. Ice cream production, tourism, and toy purchases, for example, all have predictable seasonal factors, and usually we’re interested in what happens beyond these seasonal effects. The same logic applies to aggregate measures such as...

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