Midwest Economy Blog
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By William Testa       January 6, 2006

From the slow progress being made on the Doha round of global trade liberalization, it would seem that globalization is slowing down. Yet, this is not the case at all. As the 2002 Economic Report of the President articulated, globalization continues to be enhanced by ever-falling costs and technical advancements in communication and transportation. Such developments are magnifying trade f... Read More

By William Testa       December 1, 2005

The Council of Great Lakes Governors convenes December 13, 2005, in Milwaukee. At that time, the governors will discuss progress on region-wide procedures to regulate, protect, and control diversions of the waters of the Great Lakes basin, the largest single body of surface water in the world. Such actions are laudable for their foresight in sustaining the health of the Lakes ecosystem. I... Read More

By William Testa       November 22, 2005

The Midwest economy is lagging the U.S., but some states are doing better than others. These differences may help us understand the reasons for the region's lagging economy. Last week in Indiana, I presented some evidence that the entire region is growing more slowly than the nation. Payroll job growth in our Seventh Federal Reserve District is up only 0.6% for September from one ... Read More

By William Testa       November 7, 2005

In the Midwest and elsewhere, state government financial support for higher education has been eroding. Public colleges and universities are increasingly being left to their own resources; this raises a number of issues for them and for the Midwest economy. In a major conference held here this week, Chicago Fed President Michael H. Moskow summed up one dilemma. “….universit... Read More

By William Testa       October 27, 2005

Last week, the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) became a publicly traded company. On the first day after offering its stock, its share price ended the day above $80, well above forecasts of a $45-50 value per share. The CBOT development was one of many suggesting that the prospects of Chicago area's futures exchanges have improved in recent years. But to what extent is the turnaround... Read More

By William Testa       October 20, 2005

Midwestern communities that host automotive plants are especially concerned at the recent bankruptcy actions of Delphi Corporation. Such concerns are not misplaced, since the geography and problems of Delphi's operations are similar to those of some other automotive plants. Delphi, the nation's largest auto parts supplier, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 8. The bankrupt... Read More

By William Testa       October 18, 2005

Earlier this month, Mittal Steel USA announced it will locate its headquarters in downtown Chicago rather than in Northwest Indiana. Mittal USA employs 21,000 workers in 14 states. The parent company, Mittal, headquartered in London, is the largest steel maker in the world. Mittal's U.S. headquarters will employ only about 200 people. Even so, the company will reportedly receive $... Read More

By William Testa       October 6, 2005

As the water recedes and the human toll accumulates in the hurricane-impacted Coastal regions, discussion has turned to the economic impact. Many areas and communities immediately surrounding the Gulf Coast are experiencing increased business and real estate activity as evacuees try to refocus their lives and homes, even as local governments and charitable organizations struggle mightily ... Read More

By William Testa       October 4, 2005

Michigan's traditional heavy reliance on the domestic auto industry has been troubling its economy over the past five years. While GM and the other domestic auto makers have “kept America rolling” with continued auto sales and sales/finance incentives, the state of Michigan has shown the worst performance among the states. Michigan's unemployment is the second highest at 6.7 %; and it hol... Read More

By William Testa       September 28, 2005

The Chicago economy is expanding, but the pace of growth is disappointing compared with that experienced during the 1990s. This lagging performance raises some questions about the future. Will Chicago merely serve a supporting role as a services center for the surrounding Midwest, or can Chicago's businesses expand their reach to more rapidly growing national and global markets? R... Read More

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