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A newsletter featuring an essay on economic policy issues of regional or national interest.

Last Updated: 08/22/16

Chicago Fed Letter

Most Recent Articles

No. 366

Using Private Sector “Big Data” as an Economic Indicator: The Case of Construction Spending

Daniel Aaronson, Scott A. Brave  and Ross Cole

This Chicago Fed Letter provides an account of our collaboration with the construction contracts and payment management firm Textura to use their data to evaluate the state of U.S. construction spending. We show that new construction projects budgeted by Textura’s clients are a leading indicator for total U.S. construction spending and provide information beyond other already publicly available data..

No. 365

The Illinois Budget Crisis in Context: A History of Poor Fiscal Performance

Thomas Walstrum

The author looks back at Illinois’s expenditure and revenue performance since the late 1980s to understand the sources of its current fiscal crisis. The article shows that compared with the national average, Illinois used to be a relatively low-expenditure, low-revenue state. This changed in the mid-1990s, when, unlike the typical U.S. state, Illinois began consistently spending more than it brought in. A major contributor to this budgetary imbalance was the accumulation of pension liabilities.