Midwest Economy Blog
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By Jada Houser, Thomas Walstrum       June 25, 2020

In late May 2020, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago collaborated with the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC) and the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (MMTC) to conduct a survey on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses affiliated with either of these two organizations. The survey was based on the methodology of the broader Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditio... Read More

By Martin Lavelle, Thomas Walstrum       May 26, 2020

Summary In late April, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago collaborated with the executive associations of the chambers of commerce in its five District states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin) to conduct a survey on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on chamber members’ businesses. This survey was based on the methodology of the broader Chicago Fed Survey of Business C... Read More

By Thomas Walstrum       February 13, 2020

Summary Growth in the Seventh Federal Reserve District remained below trend in the fourth quarter of 2019 as activity in the manufacturing sector continued to be soft. Slow growth worldwide is one important source of manufacturing’s weakness. Overall, our business contacts expect the pace of growth for their firms to continue to be slow in 2020, and very few expect a steep drop in demand ... Read More

By Patrick Szurkowski, Thomas Walstrum       February 03, 2020

Employment growth in the Midwest1 has been slow over the past 20 years. As figure 1 shows, since 2000, employment has gone up by just 3.3 percent in the Midwest, whereas it has risen by 21.5 percent in the rest of the U.S. The 2000s were particularly bad for the Midwest in terms of employment growth—employment in the region never fully recovered from the 2001 recession before the Great Recess... Read More

By Thomas Walstrum       November 15, 2019

Summary Growth in the Seventh Federal Reserve District remained moderately below trend in the third quarter of 2019 as activity in the manufacturing sector continued to be soft. There were signs, however, that the slowdown in growth we’ve experienced over the past year and a half has abated. And while our business contacts expect the economy to continue to grow slowly, they are not antic... Read More

By Thomas Walstrum       October 17, 2019

The Chicago metro area’s employment growth rate appears to have accelerated over the past year according to recent federal government data. But is that really the case? In this post, I show that because the employment growth data are based on a survey of employers, the apparent acceleration is probably the result of sampling error—and likely to be revised away as additional data become availa... Read More

By Thomas Walstrum       August 12, 2019

Summary Growth in the Seventh Federal Reserve District continued to slow in the second quarter of 2019, and the pace is now moderately below trend. Growth slowed across all sectors, but the slowdown was particularly noticeable in the manufacturing and service sectors. In spite of the slowdown, our business contacts expect the economy to continue to grow over the coming year. Now let’... Read More

By Thomas H. Klier       August 7, 2019

Uncertainties concerning trade policies have been impacting the U.S. economy, as well as those of its neighbors and trading partners in North America. The motor vehicle industry has been especially challenged by these uncertainties, as production operations in the United States, Canada, and Mexico are closely linked. A quarter-century ago, the North American Free Trade Agreement (N... Read More

By Leslie McGranahan       June 12, 2019

Getting its fiscal house in order has been a perennial challenge for Illinois. Illinois is consistently at the bottom of the list of states when rated by fiscal health. Moreover, Illinois currently (as of June 2019) has the worst state bond rating in the country. Given these low rankings, Illinois clearly has a problem when it comes to fiscal health not only in absolute terms, but also relati... Read More

By Thomas Walstrum       May 20, 2019

Summary Growth in the Seventh Federal Reserve District is near its long-term trend, after steadily slowing from a strong rate over the past nine months. The deceleration in growth occurred in both the manufacturing and nonmanufacturing sectors. But while activity is slower compared with a year ago, the economy is still growing at a respectable pace, and conditions in the labor market rem... Read More

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