• Learn more about how we’re committed to building a more diverse and inclusive organization: Link https://t.co/IWS7cMfLT9
    St. Louis Fed Thu 15 Apr 2021 14:56

    Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Act requires the St. Louis Fed to submit to Congress an annual report on its previous year's OMWI efforts. The St. Louis Fed's report, released March 31, 2021, is the 10th such report since the creation of its OMWI in January 2011. The report details the St. Louis Fed's 2020 OMWI activities related to employment, procurement and financial literacy. Read the 2020 report (PDF).

    Past reports:

  • Differing rates of employment and part-time work may help explain gender, racial and ethnic disparities in unemployment during the COVID-19 recession Link https://t.co/9NzSiRKTUm
    St. Louis Fed Thu 15 Apr 2021 12:16

    By Alexander Monge-Naranjo, Research Officer and Economist

    The unemployment rate—the fraction of workers who are both out of work and actively seeking employment—is followed closely by policymakers and observers of the economy’s overall performance.

    The unemployment rate is not the converse of the employment rate—the fraction of the population (not just workers) who are employed—since many nonemployed individuals are out of the labor force because they have health issues or are studying, or simply because they are retired or dedicated to activities outside the labor market. So, the unemployment rate closely measures the fraction of available workers who are not being utilized and, as such, provides a crucial indicator for the overall economic activity.

    In a previous post, we examined the substantial disparities in the unemployment rates of different groups of workers before and during the COVID-19 crisis. The crisis ravaged almost all sectors of the labor...

  • U.S. export prices rose 2.1% in March following advances of 1.6% in February and 2.6% in January. Higher prices for agricultural and nonagricultural exports contributed to March’s increase Link https://t.co/eUr1euonSo
    St. Louis Fed Thu 15 Apr 2021 04:36
  • The COVID-19 pandemic worsened inequities for working women, especially for Black and Hispanic women. In our latest Timely Topics podcast, @MerCovington and @anaNDslu discuss their research into the #shecession Link https://t.co/dlRTr9tIdp
    St. Louis Fed Thu 15 Apr 2021 03:31

    “All this data that we've seen in these groups that have been disproportionately hit, it's really just been COVID highlighting and exacerbating existing inequities,” says Ana Hernández Kent, senior researcher at the St. Louis Fed’s Institute for Economic Equity. She joins Meredith Covington, manager of Supervisory Policy and Risk Analysis, also of the St. Louis Fed. They talk with Christine Smith, communications specialist, about how the “she-cession” is disproportionately affecting women of color and sparking conversations about child care.

  • Beige Book: Contacts reported that economic conditions in the Eighth District have moderately improved since the previous report Link
    St. Louis Fed Thu 15 Apr 2021 02:31

    Contacts reported that economic conditions have moderately improved since our previous report. Some large employers planned for a robust hiring season, including hosting spring job fairs. Area universities also indicated a robust hiring season. Inflation pressures have increased moderately, but the degree of change has varied across industries. Many contacts cited a faster-than-expected pace of vaccinations, stronger-than-expected economic activity, and an improving outlook. Consumer spending reports indicate a high degree of sales volatility stemming from federal aid to households and low retail inventories. Contacts across many sectors continued to cite ongoing supply chain difficulties, such as sourcing imported inputs; however, some contacts reported improvements in domestic supply chains.

    Employment and Wages

    Employment has increased moderately since our previous report, especially in the transportation, manufacturing, and hospitality sectors. Two...

  • Throughout March and April 2020, the federal government worked to enact four major appropriations laws in response to the pandemic, totaling about $2.59 trillion in new budgetary resources Link https://t.co/vPNxWfqyFF
    St. Louis Fed Thu 15 Apr 2021 01:15

    By Crystal Flynn, Digital Web Strategist

    At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the federal government moved quickly to enact four major pieces of legislation to help offset potential economic, health and societal impacts of the global pandemic. As of Oct. 1, 2020, roughly $2.59 trillion in new budgetary resources had been made available for federal agencies.

    An analysis from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Data Lab in collaboration with the St. Louis Fed, explores how supplemental funding for COVID-19 makes its way from Congress to the American public and the economy. (At the time of publication, this data analysis reflected fiscal year 2020, or Oct. 1, 2019 to Sept. 30, 2020.)

    The passage and signing of the four acts marked the funding phases.

  • In our #AnnualReport2020, St. Louis Fed Board Chair Suzanne Sitherwood reflects on the Bank’s work Link https://t.co/vIk6osHrjQ
    St. Louis Fed Thu 15 Apr 2021 00:30

    In a year of unknowns, one thing is certain: Historians will be studying 2020 for generations to come. The wide-ranging effects of COVID-19 will ripple through the coming decades, shaping our lives in new and unforeseen ways well into the future.

    While no one has been more affected by the pandemic than those who’ve experienced its direct effects—from becoming sick, to dealing with the loss of a loved one or heroically working on the front lines—as a society, we will forever be changed.

    And, as we’ve seen, these fundamental changes are having short- and long-term economic impacts—which have been analyzed and documented by economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

    For more than a half-century, the St. Louis Fed has staked a claim as an economic research engine that, today, ranks among the top research institutions worldwide. Knowing the importance of this expertise as COVID-19 gripped the world last spring, we shifted into high gear, and the...

  • Does differing levels of labor market engagement help explain why the COVID-19 crisis has affected different groups of workers? Link https://t.co/8X65wTJqbd
    St. Louis Fed Wed 14 Apr 2021 23:45

    By Alexander Monge-Naranjo, Research Officer and Economist

    The unemployment rate—the fraction of workers who are both out of work and actively seeking employment—is followed closely by policymakers and observers of the economy’s overall performance.

    The unemployment rate is not the converse of the employment rate—the fraction of the population (not just workers) who are employed—since many nonemployed individuals are out of the labor force because they have health issues or are studying, or simply because they are retired or dedicated to activities outside the labor market. So, the unemployment rate closely measures the fraction of available workers who are not being utilized and, as such, provides a crucial indicator for the overall economic activity.

    In a previous post, we examined the substantial disparities in the unemployment rates of different groups of workers before and during the COVID-19 crisis. The crisis ravaged almost all sectors of the labor...

  • U.S. import prices increased for a fifth straight month in March, advancing 1.2% following a 1.3% rise in February Link https://t.co/LdVoSyQ8t7
    St. Louis Fed Wed 14 Apr 2021 22:35
  • Teachers: In this lesson for grades 3-5, students will discover the award-winning book “Uncle Jed's Barbershop.” They’ll learn about saving and opportunity cost and discuss implications of segregation #elemchat #historyed #financialliteracy Link https://t.co/zCPxjdEWmw
    St. Louis Fed Wed 14 Apr 2021 21:25
  • As of Oct. 1, 2020, about $2.59 trillion in new budgetary resources had been made available for U.S. agencies in response to COVID-19. Our blog details the various federal relief efforts at the onset of the pandemic Link https://t.co/43RRwBL2yT
    St. Louis Fed Wed 14 Apr 2021 20:10

    By Crystal Flynn, Digital Web Strategist

    At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the federal government moved quickly to enact four major pieces of legislation to help offset potential economic, health and societal impacts of the global pandemic. As of Oct. 1, 2020, roughly $2.59 trillion in new budgetary resources had been made available for federal agencies.

    An analysis from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Data Lab in collaboration with the St. Louis Fed, explores how supplemental funding for COVID-19 makes its way from Congress to the American public and the economy. (At the time of publication, this data analysis reflected fiscal year 2020, or Oct. 1, 2019 to Sept. 30, 2020.)

    The passage and signing of the four acts marked the funding phases.

  • Read about current economic conditions in the Eighth Federal Reserve District in the latest Beige Book Link https://t.co/QJwobmH6mF
    St. Louis Fed Wed 14 Apr 2021 18:20

    Reports from contacts indicate that economic conditions have been generally unchanged since our previous report. Firms continue to report mixed changes in employment levels. Firms reported difficulties attracting candidates for positions despite increasing wages. Inflation pressures have increased, as contacts reported moderate increases in prices; however, most contacts believe it will be difficult to pass on further price increases. Overall, contacts' outlooks continued to improve and are generally optimistic. Most cited a high degree of uncertainty about the pace of recovery, which related primarily to the pace and efficacy of vaccinations. 

    Employment and Wages 

    Employment trends have been mixed since the previous report. On net, 12% of respondents reported employment levels lower than a year ago. Contacts noted stagnant or declining employment, especially among small businesses and leisure and hospitality firms, with...

  • Prices are rising for the individual parts and ingredients that firms use to produce the final goods we buy. The FRED Blog considers what that could mean for prices consumers pay at the store Link https://t.co/mujHprXKYd
    St. Louis Fed Wed 14 Apr 2021 17:45

    The consumer price index (CPI) measures the cost of a fixed bundle of consumer goods relative to the cost of those same goods in a chosen reference year. Inflation is the percent change in the index from one year to the next and reflects how prices are changing for consumers.

    The producer price index (PPI) is a similar construct that measures the price that producers get for their wares. It was formerly called the wholesale price index (WPI). Because many of these goods are intermediate goods and thus inputs to the production of final consumer goods, one might hypothesize that changes in the PPI could forecast future changes in the CPI.

    The FRED graph above shows recent movements in these two series (January 2015 to present). Both series have grown at a fairly constant rate over the medium term. Moreover, after an initial dip at the start of the COVID recession, the PPI has risen sharply. Does this mean that future CPI inflation is imminent?

    While...

  • We take being a good corporate citizen seriously. Reduce, reuse and recycle are words we put into action #AnnualReport2020 #culture Link https://t.co/wQKHllerMn
    St. Louis Fed Wed 14 Apr 2021 14:15

    At the St. Louis Fed, we are driven by our mission to promote a healthy economy and financial stability. In 2020, we carried out our mission while actively monitoring the developments of the spread of COVID-19 and its profound impact on our nation, the Federal Reserve’s Eighth District and our workforce.

    The Bank’s 1,436 staff members—from our District’s head office in St. Louis to branches in Louisville, Little Rock and Memphis—serve the public’s interest in many ways, as seen in the following numerical snapshot of 2020. However, this snapshot will look different from past years’: On March 16, 2020, the Bank moved to operating on a full-time remote basis except for staff engaged in essential on-site operations. As a result, event attendance and figures tied to meeting in person were lower than in past years, though Bank activities were robust, and certain participation categories exceeded those of previous years.

  • The lack of cash on hand before the pandemic appears to have played a role in a renter’s or homeowner’s likelihood of experiencing housing distress during the early months of the pandemic Link https://t.co/pWGf0I5G39
    St. Louis Fed Wed 14 Apr 2021 12:10

    Housing distress was concentrated among low- and moderate-income (LMI) households of all races and ethnicities. However, disparities existed across the LMI racial and ethnic groups, (See the figure below.)

    Statistical analyses of the Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19 Survey data show that LMI Black households were 1.4 times more likely than LMI white households to be delinquent on both housing payments (12.9% versus 9.2%) and utility bill payments (18.5% versus 13%) in the early months of the pandemic (from about late January to mid-May 2020). The relationship was somewhat different between white and Hispanic households, as LMI Hispanic households were more than twice as likely as LMI white households to experience eviction or foreclosure (6.5% vs. 3.1%). The risks of missing a housing or utility payment were roughly the same between Hispanic and white households.

  • Consumer price index for all items rose 0.6% in March, seasonally adjusted, after rising 0.4% in February. The month-over-month increase was the largest since August 2012, according to the release from @BLS_gov Link https://t.co/MT7QMA9Sg1
    St. Louis Fed Wed 14 Apr 2021 03:49
  • Average U.S. gasoline and diesel prices per gallon decline slightly to $2.85 and $3.13, respectively, in the latest week Link https://t.co/8PAPcp0cGZ
    St. Louis Fed Wed 14 Apr 2021 02:19
  • Educators, discuss the pandemic economy with your students. This article from Jane Ihrig of @federalreserve and our own @scwolla is a helpful resource: Link #NCSS #Socialeducation #teachecon https://t.co/E86K7Z2dN7
    St. Louis Fed Wed 14 Apr 2021 01:09
  • Access to emergency cash before the pandemic appears to have been a factor in whether a family faced different types of housing distress, such as eviction or foreclosure, during the early months of pandemic Link https://t.co/fYvxszuREV
    St. Louis Fed Tue 13 Apr 2021 22:39

    Housing distress was concentrated among low- and moderate-income (LMI) households of all races and ethnicities. However, disparities existed across the LMI racial and ethnic groups, (See the figure below.)

    Statistical analyses of the Socio-Economic Impacts of COVID-19 Survey data show that LMI Black households were 1.4 times more likely than LMI white households to be delinquent on both housing payments (12.9% versus 9.2%) and utility bill payments (18.5% versus 13%) in the early months of the pandemic (from about late January to mid-May 2020). The relationship was somewhat different between white and Hispanic households, as LMI Hispanic households were more than twice as likely as LMI white households to experience eviction or foreclosure (6.5% vs. 3.1%). The risks of missing a housing or utility payment were roughly the same between Hispanic and white households.

  • Interested in how we support diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace? Read about our efforts in our annual report to Congress: Link https://t.co/0xZBMcNncC
    St. Louis Fed Tue 13 Apr 2021 21:34

    Section 342 of the Dodd-Frank Act requires the St. Louis Fed to submit to Congress an annual report on its previous year's OMWI efforts. The St. Louis Fed's report, released March 31, 2021, is the 10th such report since the creation of its OMWI in January 2011. The report details the St. Louis Fed's 2020 OMWI activities related to employment, procurement and financial literacy. Read the 2020 report (PDF).

    Past reports:

  • Young Daniel’s friends have cool bike helmets. He wants one, too! In this video story, #elementary students learn the difference between saving and borrowing Link #financialliteracy #elemchat https://t.co/4cKmYWU3Mp
    St. Louis Fed Tue 13 Apr 2021 20:14

    “How Daniel Got What He Wanted” is the fifth video in the Explore Economics animated series. It will help students understand that people have to save to get the things they want. Daniel wants a new bike helmet and must earn income and save to reach his goal.

  • What is the best trade policy for addressing shortages of essential goods during a #pandemic? Economists Fernando Leibovici and Ana Maria Santacreu discuss in our #AnnualReport2020 Link https://t.co/bcbkyTYnPz
    St. Louis Fed Tue 13 Apr 2021 17:19

    Most of the research on the economic effects of COVID-19 has focused on financial and labor markets, and fiscal and monetary policy. Fernando Leibovici and Ana Maria Santacreu tackle the less-studied issue of international trade. They show that U.S. imports of medical equipment rose sharply, expanding the U.S. trade deficit and providing a new angle on the old issue of the resilience of self-reliance versus the efficiency of free trade.

  • St. Louis Fed President Jim Bullard spoke with Bloomberg about U.S. monetary policy and his expectations for economic growth and inflation in 2021 Link
    St. Louis Fed Tue 13 Apr 2021 16:04

    St. Louis Fed President James Bullard discussed his expectations for economic growth and inflation in 2021. He also discussed various aspects of U.S. monetary policy during an appearance on Bloomberg Radio and TV.

    Bullard said he expects 6.5% growth for the U.S. economy this year, which would be one of the fastest growth rates for the U.S. since the mid-1980s. He also expects more inflation in 2021 than in recent years and would like to see some of that flow through to inflation expectations so they become better centered at 2%, he said.

    Bullard also said it is too early to talk about changing course on the Fed’s “very easy monetary policy” while the nation is still in the “pandemic tunnel.” It will be time to start assessing where to go next after the pandemic is more substantially behind us, he said.

    Bullard also discussed financial stability, the increase in the 10-year Treasury yield to pre-pandemic levels, the potential for higher productivity growth...

  • In April 1991—when the FRED database was born—the median price of a new home sold in the U.S. was $121,000, and the average price of a gallon of gas was $1.08 Link https://t.co/Ko2y9JPkJz
    St. Louis Fed Tue 13 Apr 2021 14:24

    By Lindsay Jones, Economic Editor

    Turning 30 is a big milestone for anyone. It’s not quite as scary as turning 40, or as ponderous as turning 50, but the big 3-0 pretty much means you’re not a kid anymore. You’ve lived a little, you’ve seen a few things—and maybe it’s even time to take stock of where you’ve been.

    So it goes for FRED, the signature economic database from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Born on April 18, 1991, FRED is 30 years old. That’s right—FRED is a millennial, and all grown up!

    FRED debuted with 30 data series—data whose changes over time are plotted on charts or reflected in spreadsheets. The data tool’s reach now spans the globe, with more than 788,000 data series and 6 million-plus users worldwide. ALFRED, which turns 15 in July, offers vintage, or unrevised, data in much the same way.

  • Our blog looks at how the Fed has performed over the past 25 years on its dual mandate of maximum employment and price stability Link https://t.co/o1tMKX2L04
    St. Louis Fed Tue 13 Apr 2021 12:34

    Since the mid-1990s, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has had an implicit or explicit annual inflation target of 2%. In August, the FOMC revised its monetary policy framework to say that the Fed would seek an average inflation target of 2% over the long run, as noted in a recent Economic Synopses essay.

    Carlos Garriga, senior vice president and director of research, and Matthew Famiglietti, a research associate, used the revision of the framework as an opportunity to evaluate how successful the Fed has been at achieving its dual mandate (price stability and maximum employment) over the past 25 years.

    “So far, the FOMC has done a reasonably good job, in a statistical sense, of keeping unemployment low and prices stable in the era of inflation targeting outside of large recessionary events, including the dot-com bubble, the Great Recession, and the COVID-19 pandemic,” the authors wrote.

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