Midwest Economy Blog
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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

By Thomas H. Klier, James Rubenstein       May 3, 2019

Today’s supply chains in motor vehicle production extend well across country borders. According to analysis presented by the Center for Automotive Research, 48% of all light vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2017 were assembled abroad, with more than half of the imported vehicles produced in Canada (11%) or Mexico (14%) (see Schultz et al., 2019). What do we know about the origin of a vehicle’s pa... Read More

By Thomas Walstrum       March 27, 2019

From December 22, 2018, to January 25, 2019, the federal government was partially shut down. In the latest round of the Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions (which was conducted from February 11 through 27), we asked our contacts about the extent to which the shutdown affected their businesses in terms of product demand, business operations, business decisions, and outlook for the U.... Read More

By Thomas Walstrum       February 11, 2019

Recently, companies from China have begun to explore direct investments in the Midwest and elsewhere around the world. Direct investment differs from portfolio investment, such as investment in U.S. Treasuries, in that direct investors Summary Growth in the Seventh Federal Reserve District continued to slow through the end of 2018, and the data indicate that the pace decelerated f... Read More

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