Midwest Economy Blog
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By Thomas Walstrum       August 10, 2018

Summary: We now have data through the first half of 2018, and they indicate that the Seventh Federal Reserve District’s economy did quite well. The manufacturing sector is the primary source of the good performance—growth has been strong enough that there are now signs of some manufacturers running into capacity constraints. While the nonmanufacturing sectors are not running as hot as... Read More

By Thomas Walstrum       May 22, 2018

Summary: Growth in the Seventh Federal Reserve District picked up from an already healthy pace during the first quarter of 2018, with almost all indicators pointing to above-trend growth. The manufacturing sector was doing especially well, with good results spread across manufacturing subsectors. Outside manufacturing, most sectors returned to about trend growth, up from a lull that bottomed out ... Read More

By Thomas Walstrum       May 14, 2018

On March 1 of this year, the Trump administration announced its intention to implement import tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum. The tariffs went into effect on March 23. At the moment, a number of our major trading partners are excluded from the tariffs: For the time being, Canada, Mexico, the European Union (EU), South Korea, Argentina, Australia, and Brazil are among those that ... Read More

By Thomas Haasl, Rick Mattoon, Thomas Walstrum       May 7, 2018

Note: This post is based on previous work presented by the same authors at the forum “Navigating Pension Reform in Illinois: What Lies Ahead”, held on April 17, 2018 at the Chicago Fed. The original presentation is available here. The State of Illinois has a very large unfunded pension liability and will likely have to pay much of it off by raising taxes. The Illinois Commission ... Read More

By Thomas Walstrum       February 12, 2018

Summary The Seventh District economy maintained a healthy pace of growth through the end of 2017 and into January, with most signs pointing toward above-trend growth. The manufacturing sector finished 2017 well, with good news spread across its subsectors. And it’s worth noting that while the auto industry struggled in the middle of the year, it ended the year in decent shape. Outside of ... Read More

By Thomas Walstrum       February 5, 2018

On December 22nd of last year, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a law that makes substantial changes to the federal tax code for individuals and businesses. An important provision of the act is tax cuts for both groups worth an estimated $1.46 trillion over the next ten years. Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that businesses will pay $330.4 billion l... Read More

By William Sander       December 12, 2017

Harvard economist Edward Glaeser shows that education is one of the strongest predictors of urban economic growth. This is particularly the case for older cities like Chicago. One of the reasons for this is that a higher density of college-educated workers is associated with higher levels of worker productivity. There is very good news for Chicago. Recent data for 2016 from the United Sta... Read More

By Thomas Walstrum       November 20, 2017

Summary We now have data for the Seventh District economy for the early fall, and they largely indicate that the nice run of good growth in the District continued. As has been the case throughout the year, the manufacturing sector was the driving force behind the good conditions—solid global growth and a revival in the U.S. energy sector continued to support important industries, such as st... Read More

By Thomas Walstrum       September 21, 2017

Summary Growth in the Seventh District was pretty good to start the second half of the year, even though the pace was clearly slower than that of the first half. As is usual for the District, the manufacturing sector was the driving force behind this development. As I noted in the mid-year review, the boost in manufacturing activity appears to have been driven by growth in the global economy and ... Read More

By Thomas Walstrum       August 8, 2017

With the recent release of the Chicago Fed’s June Midwest Economy Index (MEI), we now have a good picture of how the Seventh District’s economy has done in the first half of this year. Overall, things went pretty well, and it appears that revivals in global growth and U.S. oil production are behind the good results. These revivals have lifted some long-struggling manufacturing industr... Read More

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