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.
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.
According to the most recent AgLetter, Seventh District farmland values in the third quarter of 2017 were 1 percent lower than a year ago. Values for “good” agricultural land in the third quarter of 2017 were overall the same as in the second quarter.
In the AgLetter in Perspective, David Oppedahl provides some context to this quarter's results.
The Michigan Retail Index’s October survey found that while 57 percent reported sales increases over September, 30 percent recorded declines and 13 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 65.9 up from the September performance index of 43.7.
While 55 percent of Michigan retailers expect sales during November-January to increase, 16 percent predict a decrease and 29 percent no change. That keeps the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 75.7, according to the Retail Index survey, continuing retailers’ optimism.
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 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).