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Chicago Fed Letter

Romel Bonilla, Jenna Cooper, Adam Emmerich, Theresa Hembd, Pamela Kennedy, Blake Marquart, and Joseph Nashar

The 12th annual Community Bankers Symposium, cosponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), was held at the Chicago Fed on November 17, 2017. During a full day of speeches and panels, a group of 125 community banking executives, financial industry practitioners, and supervisory agency professionals who work in the Seventh Federal Reserve District explored the changing landscape for community banking. This article summarizes the event’s key presentations and discussions.

David B. Oppedahl

Over a number of decades, agricultural exports have become increasingly important to the bottom line of farmers in the Midwest and other parts of the nation. Moreover, imports of food products from around the world have helped increase business activity here and enhanced the lives of U.S. consumers. On November 28, 2017, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago held a conference to explore issues surrounding agricultural trade, particularly those pertinent to the Midwest economy.

Gene Amromin, Mariacristina De Nardi, and Karl Schulze

The increase in inequality over the past several decades has received widespread attention from both academics and the public at large. While much of this discourse centers on either the causes or normative implications of increasing inequality, it is important to ask whether the widening gap between the rich and poor has any direct effects on macroeconomic aggregates and, in particular, on the severity of the Great Recession, when output and consumption dropped precipitously and were slow to recover.

William A. Strauss and Thomas Haasl

According to participants in the Chicago Fed’s annual Economic Outlook Symposium, the U.S. economy is forecasted to grow at a pace slightly above average in 2018, with inflation moving up a little and the unemployment rate remaining low.

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