Information about the Seventh Federal Reserve District states, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin; economic indicators; articles on Midwest issues; and news about conferences and projects.
Research Vice President Bill Testa and special guest commentators offer unique perspectives on the Midwest economy through this blog including topics such as energy, regional production and the auto industry.
Automakers and suppliers have long faced the need to adapt to ever-changing global competition, customer preferences and industry regulation. In an effort to get insights into future challenges and opportunities for the auto industry questions, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago — Detroit Branch and Detroit Association of Business Economists (DABE) together with WardsAuto will host a half-day conference on January 12, 2017. Read the blog to learn more about the conference and to register.
The Michigan Retail Index survey for April found 51 percent of the state’s retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 32 percent recorded declines and 17 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 54.5, down from 57.4 in March but still above the important 50 mark.
Looking forward, 72 percent of Michigan retailers expect sales during May – July to increase over the same period last year, while 11 percent project a decrease and 17 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 74.3, down from 84.0 in March but well above the 50 level.
Nationally, retail sales excluding autos and gasoline, rose by 0.3 percent in April, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
The Midwest Economy Index (MEI) edged down to –0.10 in September from –0.08 in August. However, the relative MEI moved up to +0.17 in September from +0.13 in August. September’s value for the relative MEI indicates that Midwest economic growth was somewhat higher than what would typically be suggested by the growth rate of the national economy.
In September 2015, Volkswagen admitted to having programmed nearly 11 million of its diesel vehicles to cheat on tailpipe emissions tests. To put VW’s emissions rigging into a broader context, the authors review the different approaches that the U.S. and Europe for testing and managing vehicle emissions.
According to the most recent AgLetter, Seventh District farmland values in the third quarter of 2016 were 3 percent lower than a year ago. Values for "good" agricultural land in the third quarter of 2016 were 1 percent lower than in the second quarter.
On December 2, 2016, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago held its annual economic outlook symposium. Presentations and a press release from the symposium are online.
On May 31, 2016, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago held its annual automotive symposium. Twenty-seven industry experts provided a consensus on the economy in 2016 and 2017. Presentations and a press release from the symposium are online. A Chicago Fed Letter offers a summary of the symposium and the participants' forecasts.
Seventh District farmland values in the first quarter of 2014 were 1 percent higher than a year ago. Values for “good” agricultural land in the first quarter of 2014 were 1 percent lower than in the fourth quarter of 2013.
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Source: Chicago Fed staff calculations based on data from Haver Analytics.
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Midwest Economy events dating back through 2010 are available below. Many of our earlier events are available on our Past Events page and our conference series pages (links in the sidebar).