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Tag Archives: Uncategorized

The St. Louis Fed’s Financial Stress Index, version 3.0

In 2010, the St. Louis Fed introduced its St. Louis Financial Stress Index (STLFSI), which quantifies financial stress in the U.S. economy using 18 key indicators of financial market conditions—7 interest rates, 6 yield spreads, and 5 other indicators. This index, of course, can be found in FRED. The STLFSI uses principal component analysis (PCA) to calculate the “factors” most responsible for the co-movement of several variables. By relying on multiple types of indicators, the STLFSI...

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Racial inequality remains after MLK : Data on gaps in unemployment and homeownership

Next Monday we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which honors the man who rose to national recognition beginning with the 1955 Montgomery bus boycotts. Dr. King was a prolific orator and arguably the most prominent and persuasive leader of the U.S. civil rights movement. Less than a week after Dr. King’s assassination, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the Fair Housing Act of 1968—a law that prohibited discrimination in the renting and purchasing of houses....

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Top FRED Blog posts in 2021

FRED is all about statistics, and the FRED Blog is all about discussing them. It’s early January, so we’ll take some time for introspection and setting new goals based on statistics from this past year. The list below shows the FRED Blog posts from 2021 that our users have read the most. Unlike other top lists, we waited until the year was completely over to avoid subsequent revisions (for which we’d need to launch the ALFRED Blog). Here are the most-viewed posts written in 2021:...

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Time for a new calendar

It’s 2022, friends. So if you have a wall or desk calendar, it’s time to swap it out. FRED has some price data about calendars—specifically, the producer price index (PPI) for calendars, yearbooks, and some other related but unspecified publications. This data series measures how much the producers of these goods are paid for each unit. In the FRED graph above, it looks like this industry was able to achieve steadily increasing prices until 2008, when prices remained stuck and even...

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A change in measuring active real estate listings : Comparing data methodologies in ALFRED

The FRED Blog occasionally refers to ALFRED, the archive of historical versions (or “vintages”) of FRED data that recently turned 15. It has been featured in posts about recurring revisions of employment data. Today we call upon ALFRED to illustrate a different type of data revision: one where the methodology for calculating the data changes. Here’s an analogy: Imagine preparing a pitcher of fresh lemonade. The recipe that you follow is the methodology; the lemons are the information...

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On the relationship between unemployment and late credit card payments

The first shaded region on the FRED graph above indicates the 2008-09 Great Recession. In that recession, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (red line, right axis) nearly doubled from 5% in December 2007 to 9.5% in June 2009. At the same time, seasonally adjusted credit card delinquency rates (blue line, left axis) increased from 4.6% in the fourth quarter of 2007 to 6.8% in second quarter of 2009. In short, as workers became unemployed, some stopped making on-time credit card...

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Christmas trade : Guano in your stocking from Christmas Island

FRED has some surprising international data, including U.S. trade data for Christmas Island. Christmas Island doesn’t appear to be a home for Santa, as it is just south of Indonesia, administered by Australia, with remarkably stable tropical weather. A couple of thousand inhabitants principally work in phosphate extraction from guano deposits. It was named on December 25, 1643, by a British captain sailing past it. The first human set foot on the island in 1688, but it took two...

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Air freight prices to and from Asia : FRED Blog’s 750th post looks to Marco Polo

Today, the FRED Blog offers its 750th post of engaging graphs from the FRED data library. To celebrate, we draw a serendipitous connection between historical and current economics. In 1271, 750 years ago, Marco Polo first left Venice for Asia. In the spirit of this traveling merchant, the FRED Blog compares air freight costs to and from Asia, which is not as straightforward as you might think. The FRED graph above shows the price index for air freight (cargo) reported by the U.S....

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Goodbye LIBOR, hello SONIA : Changes in measuring international interbank borrowing

2021 is winding down, and new year’s resolutions are in the air. The FRED team is also thinking ahead to 2022, when it will update its data repository to reflect the discontinuation of several financial data series and the new  reliance on some replacement series. This FRED news post provides the details of this transition. For example, 35 London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) benchmark rates produced by the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) will no longer be calculated as of December...

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Semiconductor bottlenecks and prices

The tumultuous COVID-19-related events of the past two years have led to supply chain disruptions across nearly every industry. One notable consequence of these disruptions is the semiconductor shortage. This shortage has led to bottlenecks for many sectors, including automobiles, tech products, and home appliances. While demand in the U.S. was initially low during the COVID-19-induced recession in early 2020, the recovery has been marked by strong demand boosted by, among other...

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