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.
According to the most recent AgLetter, Seventh District farmland values in the fourth quarter of 2017 were 1 percent higher than a year ago. Values for “good” agricultural land in the fourth quarter of 2017 were overall the same as in the third quarter.
In the AgLetter in Perspective, David Oppedahl provides some context to this quarter's results.
The District plays an important role in international trade. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 8.9% of U.S. exports in 2016 were food and agricultural products, with 12.7% of those exports coming from the five states of the Seventh Federal Reserve District. Learn what attendees at the 2017 Agriculture Conference had to share about our ties to the global economy
The Michigan Retail Index’s February survey found that 37 percent of respondents reported sales increases over January, 53 percent recorded declines and 10 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 42.2, a slight decrease from the 42.5 performance index reported in January. A year ago, the Retail Index was 52.
The Retail Index shows that 80 percent of Michigan retailers expect strong sales through May, while nine percent predict a decrease and 10 percent expect no change. That raises the seasonally adjusted outlook index to 75.8 – a sign of big optimism for a busy spring, according to the Retail Index survey.
The Midwest Economy Index (MEI) decreased to –0.09 in September from +0.08 in August. Contributions to the September MEI from all four broad sectors of nonfarm business activity and four of the five Seventh Federal Reserve District states declined from August. The relative MEI decreased to –0.04 in September from +0.03 in August.
The Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions (CFSBC) Activity Index decreased to –13 from –6, suggesting that growth in economic activity remained at a modest pace in October and early November.
On June 1–2, 2017, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago held its 24th annual Automotive Outlook Symposium (AOS) at its Detroit Branch. In this blog entry, Thomas Klier and Martin Lavelle cover the first day’s panel, which was on autonomous vehicles and battery electric vehicles (BEVs). The panel’s three experts focused on how these types of vehicles might affect personal mobility and the organization of our society; automotive manufacturers’ product planning; and energy usage. All of the speakers agreed that these innovations have the potential to play significant and disruptive roles in the automotive industry’s future. Yet, they all conceded that the speed at which these new technologies will be rolled out is still uncertain.
On June 1-2, 2017, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago held its annual automotive symposium. Twenty-eight industry experts provided a consensus on the economy in 2017 and 2018. Presentations and a press release from the symposium are online. A Chicago Fed Letter offers a summary of the symposium and the participants' forecasts.
The intersection between poor fiscal conditions facing Chicago and the prospects for business development was the subject of a conference cosponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Civic Federation on April 19, 2017. Specifically, the program focused on whether municipal bankruptcy is an appropriate mechanism for addressing extreme fiscal stress and the impact such an action might have on key Chicago industries, particularly those characterized by rapid recent growth.
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.
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).