Midwest Economy Blog
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By Levi Bognar, Thomas Walstrum       May 12, 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic caused a massive worldwide economic shock. Within the United States, no region was spared. The state with the smallest employment decline at the beginning of the pandemic—Wyoming—still lost 9% of its workers from January through April of 2020. Moreover, there were six states—Hawaii, Michigan, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont—that saw employment drop by over 20... Read More

By Nicholas Kumamoto, Thomas Walstrum       February 22, 2022

When analyzing an area’s economic growth, economists commonly classify the determinants of growth as being either cyclical or structural. A cyclical factor plays out over a short period of time and typically has a small effect beyond then. In contrast, a structural factor can affect an area’s growth over many years or even decades. The Covid-19 pandemic is largely a cyclical event that has domina... Read More

By May Tysinger, Thomas Walstrum       January 10, 2022

The Seventh District (and the nation) experienced strong growth during 2021 as the economy recovered from the pandemic recession. But the ebbs and flows of the pandemic continue to hold sway over the pace of economic activity and prevented a complete recovery. The labor market tightened considerably over the year, while supply chain constraints held back growth in manu... Read More

By May Tysinger, Thomas Walstrum       August 24, 2021

At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, many workplaces in the U.S. were closed (either voluntarily or by government order) to limit the spread of the virus. Some of these workplaces, such as factories, reopened within a few months. Yet many other workplaces remained closed, and the vast majority of their employees continued to perform their tasks off-site. The... Read More

By Martin Lavelle       May 7, 2021

The recession and recovery resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic are unprecedented for a number of reasons. The abrupt, sharp drop in real GDP was larger than in any recession since the Great Depression. With the closure of non-essential businesses at the onset of the pandemic, the unemployment rate rose to never before seen levels. As non-essential businesses and secto... Read More

By Thomas Walstrum       January 12, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a worldwide economic downturn. While the decline in economic activity has been substantial everywhere, within the U.S., the magnitudes of both the initial downturn and ongoing recovery have varied by state. In this blog post, I review the employment experiences of U.S. states since the onset of the pandemic, and I pay special attention to states in the Federal... Read More

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

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