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Tag Archives: Uncategorized

Jolts in the labor market: It’s harder to hire : Average time to fill an open job rose from 20 to 50 days

It should be no surprise that the job market has had some ups and downs during this pandemic, and one related measure is how long it has taken to fill an open position. FRED, with the help of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), gives us the tools to look into this. JOLTS, among other things, provides monthly data on the number of job openings and how many openings have been filled during that month. A simple ratio of these two numbers tells us how many months it takes...

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Jumps in county population : Fresh data from the Census Bureau

The first results of the 2020 population census are trickling in, and FRED is adding them to the database as the Census Bureau makes them available. The FRED graph above shows the resident population for Jefferson County, Wisconsin; Prince George’s County, Maryland; and St. Louis City, Missouri (which is its own county). The Census Bureau measures and adjusts the population data yearly from estimates about births, deaths, and migration. Again, these are just estimates. While births and...

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Public construction spending: Building up U.S. infrastructure

The FRED Blog has used U.S. Census data to compare private construction spending across different types of structures. Today we build on that topic by comparing the different types of public construction spending. The FRED graph above shows spending data between 1993 and 2020. During most of these years, local, state, and federal construction projects amounted to one out of every four dollars spent on construction. As of 2020, public construction spending was $361 billion. Let’s look...

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Recreational Data in FRED : Using BLS data to track fun, 2007-2019

The FRED Blog has discussed the growing share of personal spending on recreation. But where, precisely, are households spending their leisure time? FRED data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Industry Productivity release can show us a few things: The FRED graph above plots inflation-adjusted business activity, or real output, for five different industries in the amusement, gambling, and recreation industry subsector. The BLS reports output as an index value, which is set at...

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Residential segregation and redlining

In a recent post, the FRED Blog described how the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) created color-coded maps of 239 cities across the U.S. to indicate the riskiness associated with making mortgage loans in each neighborhood. This practice, adopted between 1935 and 1940, informed the supervisory work of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board over the lenders. Let’s recap the color codes for those maps: Grade A: “Best” (shaded green), where properties were expected to increase or maintain a...

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Residential redlining of U.S. neighborhoods

The FRED graph above shows home values for four classifications of neighborhoods from 1930 to 2010. The lowest values (and highest levels of risk) are shown by the red line, which was an intentional choice: Red is the color used in 1930s city maps to mark the residential neighborhoods where lenders deemed they were most likely to lose money when making mortgage loans. And that color gave rise to the term “redlining.” After the Great Depression (1929-1933), the federal government tasked...

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No taper tantrum this time? : Comparing bond market reactions in 2013 and 2021

The FRED graph above shows the daily yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries since the beginning of 2013. On May 22, 2013, Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke announced that the Fed would start tapering asset purchases at some future date, which sent a negative shock to the market, causing bond investors to start selling their bonds. (See the dotted vertical line in the graph.) As a result, the yield on 10-year U.S. Treasuries rose from around 2% in May 2013 to around 3% in December. This...

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Discrepancies in dating recessions : Illuminating the shaded areas on the graph

There’s no hard and fast rule for determining when the U.S. economy has entered a recession, and there’s no one indicator that determines a recession. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Business Cycle Dating Committee defines a recession as a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy and makes that determination by considering numerous indicators of economic activity. They date a recession from the peak of a business cycle through its trough. Most...

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From the History Books: The Rethinking of the International Monetary System

By Atish Rex Ghosh Fifty years ago, the world changed. On August 15, 1971, US President Richard Nixon slammed shut the “gold window,” suspending dollar convertibility. Although it was not Nixon’s intention, this act effectively marked the end of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates. But, in truth, with the rise of private cross-border capital flows, a system based on fixed exchange rates for the major currencies was no longer viable and Nixon’s decision—decried at the time as an...

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The recovery in leisure and hospitality employment

The FRED Blog has previously looked at the negative impact of social distancing on employment levels in the leisure and hospitality industry. Today, one year later, we take a look at how the overall economic recovery is reflected in this industry. The GeoFRED map above shows the percent change between May 2020 and May 2021 of employment levels in the leisure and hospitality industry for each state. The data are seasonally adjusted, meaning they correct for the recurring ups and downs...

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