Midwest Economy

Information about the Seventh Federal Reserve District states, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin; economic indicators; articles on Midwest issues; and news about conferences and projects.

What's Happening in the Midwest Economy?

Economists and staff from the Chicago Fed's Regional Research Team offer unique perspectives on the Midwest economy through this blog including topics such as energy, regional production and the auto industry.

Chicago Fed Letter Discusses Best Practices for Financing Illinois Infrastructure

On April 5, 2019, more than 140 academics, business leaders, government officials, and policy researchers came to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to explore how best to design and finance an infrastructure program for Illinois. The program, presented by the Civic Federation and the Chicago Fed, focused on how to improve the transparency of infrastructure project selection and to ensure that sustainable funding is identified to support efficient infrastructure operation. In this Chicago Fed Letter, Rick Mattoon offers a summary of the conversations and presentations that took place.

Midwest Farmland Values Steady in First Quarter

According to the most recent AgLetter, Seventh District farmland values in the first quarter of 2019 were largely the same as a year ago. Values for “good” agricultural land in the first quarter of 2019 were 1 percent higher than in the fourth quarter of 2018.

In the AgLetter in Perspective, David Oppedahl provides some context to this quarter's results.

 

Michigan Retailers: Soft Sales in March, but Wage Growth Is Cause for Optimism

The Michigan Retail Index’s March survey showed that 33 percent of respondents reported sales increases over February. Forty-seven percent of retailers recorded declines in March and 20 percent reported no change.

The index shows that 64 percent of Michigan retailers expect strong sales through June, while 10 percent predict a decrease; 26 percent expect no change. That results in an adjusted outlook index of 71.0 – a strong prediction as stores head into summer.

Midwest Economic Index Points to Slower Midwest Economic Growth in March

The Midwest Economy Index (MEI) moved down to +0.22 in March from +0.29 in February. Contributions to the March MEI from three of the four broad sectors of nonfarm business activity and three of the five Seventh Federal Reserve District states decreased from February. The relative MEI edged down to +0.57 in March from +0.60 in February. Contributions to the March relative MEI from three of the four sectors and two of the five states decreased from February.

Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions Shows Steady Growth in Late February and Early March

The Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions (CFSBC) Activity Index edged down to −20 from −17, suggesting that growth in economic activity remained at a modest pace in late February and March. The CFSBC Manufacturing Activity Index fell to −20 from −3, while the CFSBC Nonmanufacturing Activity Index increased to −20 from −25.

Save the Date: 2019 Agriculture Conference to Explore Environmental Practices

The Chicago Fed's Annual Agriculture Conference will be held on November 30, 2019, in the Bank's conference center. This year the theme will focus on Midwest agriculture and the environment, including conservation practices. Additional information will be posted as it becomes available. Learn more about the 2019 conference and review papers and agendas from previous conferences on our Agriculture Conference Series site.

Forecasts from the Thirty-Second Economic Outlook Symposium Participants Now Available

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago held its 32nd annual Economic Outlook Symposium on November 30, 2018. According to participants in the EOS, the U.S. economy is forecasted to grow at a pace somewhat above average in 2019, with inflation ticking down and the unemployment rate remaining low.

Chicago Fed Letter Shares Conversations from the Ag Conference

On November 27, 2018, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago held a conference to explore the opportunities and challenges presented by new technologies to farms and rural areas in the Midwest and other parts of the U.S. Experts from academia, industry, and policy institutions gathered to discuss how technological advances have reshaped the rural economy and how they may affect its future. This Chicago Fed Letter summarizes the discussions about Technology's Impact on Farming and the Rural Midwest.

Forecasts from the Twenty-Fifth Auto Outlook Symposium

On June 1, 2018, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago held its annual automotive symposium. More than 40 industry experts provided a consensus on the economy in 2017 and forecasts for  2018 and 2019. Presentations and a press release from the symposium are online. A Chicago Fed Letter offers a summary of the symposium and the participants' forecasts.

Michigan Economy Blog: Detroit Economic Growth Bounced Back

The Chicago Fed’s Detroit Economic Activity Index (DEAI) was +0.99 in December, up from –0.33 in November. An index value greater than zero points to the city of Detroit’s economic activity growing faster than trend, while an index value less than zero points to the city’s economic activity growing slower than trend.

Community Development Blog

Interested in community and economic development? Follow the latest posts in the Community Devolopment and Policy Studies blog!

 

Source: Chicago Fed staff calculations based on data from Haver Analytics.

Agricultural Issues

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David Oppedahl | 2019 | AgLetter | No. 1985 | August
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David Oppedahl | 2019 | AgLetter | No. 1984 | May
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David Oppedahl | 2019 | AgLetter | No. 1983 | February
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David Oppedahl | 2018 | AgLetter | No. 1982 | November
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David Oppedahl | 2018 | AgLetter | No. 1981 | August
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David Oppedahl | 2018 | AgLetter | No. 1980 | May
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David Oppedahl | 2018 | AgLetter | No. 1979 | February
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David Oppedahl | 2017 | AgLetter | No. 1978 | November
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David Oppedahl | 2017 | AgLetter | No. 1977 | August
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David Oppedahl | 2017 | AgLetter | No. 1976 | May
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Banking, Finance and Credit

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François Gourio | 2019 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 418
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Michael Austin,Marshall Eckblad,Courtney Markovich,Jacqunette Murray,Wade Perry,Nick Strok,Terri Woodford | 2017 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 383
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Scott A. Brave,David Kelley | 2017 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 386
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Sumit Agarwal,Gene Amromin,Claudine Gartenberg,Anna Paulson,Sriram Villupuram | 2014 | Economic Perspectives | Vol. 38 | 2nd
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Leslie McGranahan,Tom Nohel | 2014 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 321 | April
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Gene Amromin,Benjamin Chabot | 2013 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 316 | November
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Robin Newberger,Maude Toussaint-Comeau | 2013 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 306a | January
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Leslie McGranahan,Anna Paulson | 2011 | Economic Perspectives | Vol. 35 | No. 4 | 4th
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Scott A. Brave,Hesna Genay | 2011 | Working Paper | No. 2011-04 | May
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Scott A. Brave,R. Andrew Butters | 2010 | Working Paper | No. 2010-07 | January
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Economic Cycles

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| 2019 | Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions | June
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| 2019 | Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions | April
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| 2019 | Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions | March
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| 2019 | Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions | January
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| 2019 | Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions | July
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| 2019 | Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions | September
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| 2018 | Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions | December
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| 2018 | Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions | October
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| 2018 | Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions | September
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| 2018 | Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions | July
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Education and Training

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Andrew Goodman-Bacon,Leslie McGranahan | 2008 | Economic Perspectives | Vol. 32 | 2nd
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Brian Fabes ,Rick Mattoon | 2007 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 242 | September
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Rick Mattoon | 2007 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 236a | March
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Larry Isaak,Rick Mattoon,Laura Melle | 2006 | Working Paper | No. 2006-08
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William Sander | 2006 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 231 | October
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Rick Mattoon | 2006 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 229 | August
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Rick Mattoon | 2006 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 222b | January
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Rick Mattoon | 2006 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 222a | January
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Rick Mattoon | 2005 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 218 | September
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Rick Mattoon | 2004 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 203 | June
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Environmental Energy

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François Gourio | 2015 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 341
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Donald A. Hanson,Martin Lavelle,William Testa | 2013 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 314 | September
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Thomas H. Klier,Joshua Linn | 2011 | Working Paper | No. 2011-01 | January
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Martin Lavelle,Britton Lombardi | 2009 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 259a | February
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Thomas H. Klier,Joshua Linn | 2008 | Working Paper | No. 2008-13 | July
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David B. Cashin ,Leslie McGranahan | 2006 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 227 | June
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Lynne Kiesling,Rick Mattoon | 2003 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 195 | October
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Rick Mattoon | 2002 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 178b | June
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Rick Mattoon | 2002 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 178a | June
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Foreign Trade

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William A. Strauss,Kelley Sarussi | 2019 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 417
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Lorenz J. Jarass,Anthony E. Tokman,Mark L. J. Wright | 2017 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 382
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William A. Strauss,Jacob Berman | 2015 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 333
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Robert L. Thompson | 2007 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 236 | March
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Thomas H. Klier | 2004 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 200a | March
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Jay Liao,William Testa,Alexei Zelenev | 2003 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 196 | November
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Thomas H. Klier,William Testa | 2002 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 179b | July
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Thomas H. Klier,William Testa | 2002 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 179a | July
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Jack L. Hervey | 1999 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 147 | November
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Jack L. Hervey,William A. Strauss | 1998 | Economic Perspectives | Vol. 22 | No. 4 | December | 4th
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Health Care

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Sarah Miller,Luojia Hu,Robert Kaestner,Bhash Mazumder,Ashley Wong,Lisa Camner McKay | 2019 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 420
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Leslie McGranahan,Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach | 2011 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 284 | March
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Sam Kahan | 2008 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 254a | September
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Sam Kahan,William Testa | 2008 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 248 | March
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Rick Mattoon | 2007 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 238a | May
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Erin Davis,Rick Kaglic | 2002 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 175 | March
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Industry Analysis

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William A. Strauss,Kelley Sarussi | 2019 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 417
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William A. Strauss,Thomas Haasl | 2018 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 399
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William A. Strauss,Thomas Haasl | 2017 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 372
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William A. Strauss,Thomas Haasl | 2017 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 381
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William A. Strauss,Rebecca Friedman | 2016 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 364
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Thomas H. Klier,Joshua Linn | 2016 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 357
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William A. Strauss,Rebecca Friedman | 2016 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 350
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Thomas H. Klier,James Rubenstein | 2015 | Economic Perspectives | Vol. 39 | 4th
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William A. Strauss,Jacob Berman | 2015 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 340
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William A. Strauss,Jacob Berman | 2015 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 333
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Labor

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William A. Strauss,Kelley Sarussi | 2019 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 417
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Abdoulaye Ndiaye,Lisa Camner McKay | 2019 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 419
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William A. Strauss,Rebecca Friedman | 2016 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 364
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Daniel Aaronson,Scott A. Brave,David Kelley | 2016 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 359
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Jason Faberman,Marianna Kudlyak | 2016 | Economic Perspectives | Vol. 40 | No. 1
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David Oppedahl | 2016 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 354
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Jason Faberman,Alejandro Justiniano | 2015 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 337
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Bhash Mazumder | 2014 | Economic Perspectives | Vol. 38
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Jason Faberman,Taft Foster | 2013 | Economic Perspectives | Vol. 37 | January
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State and Local Policy

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Rick Mattoon,Sarah Wetmore | 2018 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 398
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Rick Mattoon,Sarah Wetmore | 2017 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 379
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Thomas Walstrum | 2016 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 365
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Rick Mattoon | 2016 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 351
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William A. Strauss,Rebecca Friedman | 2016 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 350
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Rick Mattoon,Sarah Wetmore | 2015 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 339
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Rick Mattoon | 2015 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 331
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Martin Lavelle | 2014 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 329 | December
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Jacob Berman,Leslie McGranahan | 2014 | Economic Perspectives | Vol. 38 | 3rd
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Rick Mattoon,Sarah Wetmore | 2014 | Chicago Fed Letter | No. 324a | July
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Urban and Regional Economics

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| 2019 | Midwest Economy Index | April
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| 2019 | Midwest Economy Index | March
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| 2018 | Midwest Economy Index | November
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| 2018 | Midwest Economy Index | October
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| 2018 | Midwest Economy Index | September
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The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago periodically launches special projects examining certain aspects of the Midwest economy.

Midwest Economy events dating back through 2010 are available below. Many of our earlier events are available on our Past Events page and our conference series pages (links in the sidebar).

2018

Annual Agriculture Conference

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago will hold a conference to explore issues surrounding the challenges, prospects, and opportunities of agricultural technology for farms and rural areas of the Midwest, with a particular focus on mechanisms for funding new technologies and their implementation.
November 27, 2018

Preventing the Next State Budget Crises: Improving Budget Transparency to Bolster Fiscal Sustainability

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the Lincoln Land Institute and the Pew Charitable Trust is hosting the Preventing the Next State Budget Crises: Improving Budget Transparency to Bolster Fiscal Sustainability conference on Monday, September 17, 2018 from 7:30am to 3:00pm at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
September 17, 2018

Annual Automotive Outlook Symposium

The 25th Annual Automotive Outlook Symposium will be held at the Detroit Branch on Friday, June 1, 2018. This year's topics include near-term automotive outlook and the global electrified powertrain outlook.
June 1, 2018

Navigating Pension Reform in Illinois: What Lies Ahead?

The Civic Federation is pleased to partner with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to co-host Navigating Pension Reform in Illinois: What Lies Ahead?
April 17, 2018

Automotive Insights Conference

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Detroit Branch and Detroit Association of Business Economists (DABE) and WardsAuto co-hosted the conference on Auto Insights at the Detroit Branch.
January 18, 2018

2017

Thirtieth Annual Economic Outlook Symposium

The symposium will focus on the forces shaping the U.S. economy as it enters 2018.
December 1, 2017

Annual Agriculture Conference

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago held its Annual Agricultural Conference to explore the effect of global trade on the Midwest agricultural industry.
November 28, 2017

Twenty-Third Annual Automotive Outlook Symposium

This year's topics included near-term automotive outlook and a discussion of how CAFE regulations will impact the automotive market in the coming years.
June 1-2, 2017

Chicago’s Fiscal Future: Growth or Insolvency?

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Civic Federation held a conference: To Explore the impacts of bankruptcy on municipal governments and whether it is a reasonable option for Chicago to solve its fiscal problems.
April 19, 2017

Automotive Insights Conference

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Detroit Branch and Detroit Association of Business Economists (DABE) and WardsAuto co-hosted the conference on Auto Insights at the Detroit Branch.
January 12, 2017

2016

Annual Agriculture Conference

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago will hold its Annual Agricultural Conference to explore the agricultural downturn in the Midwest and discuss future directions for farming.
November 29, 2016

Twenty-Third Annual Automotive Outlook Symposium

This year's topics included the near-term automotive outlook and a discussion of how new technologies will impact the automotive market in the coming years.
June 3, 2016

Medicaid Expansion and the Affordable Care Act: A Fiscal Checkup

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Civic Federation held a Conference on Medicaid Expansion and the Affordable Care Act.
April 4, 2016

2015

Annual Agriculture Conference

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago will hold its Annual Agricultural Conference to explore labor issues affecting agriculture and the rural Midwest.
November 17, 2015

Twenty-Second Annual Automotive Outlook Symposium

This year's topics included the near-term automotive outlook and a discussion of how new technologies will impact the automotive market in the coming years.
May 29, 2015

Sin Taxes: The Sobering Fiscal Reality

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Board of Directors of the Civic Federation co-hosted a conference to examine why governments implement or raise sin taxes, whether they are a reliable source of revenue and ideas about their future use.
April 2, 2015

2014

Annual Agriculture Conference

Don't miss your chance to hear The Honorable Jill Long Thompson, Board Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Farm Credit Administration offer her insight on farm income.
November 17, 2014

Infrastructure and Economic Growth: Measuring the Impact and Funding Models

This program will examine what is known about the value of infrastructure investments based on recent research and explore funding models that may help to pay for infrastructure during a time of constrained government resources.
November 3, 2014

Twenty-First Annual Automotive Outlook Symposium

This year's topics included the near-term automotive outlook and a discussion of EY's Automotive C-Suite's survey results.
April 23, 2014

After Detroit

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Board of Directors of the Civic Federation co-hosted a conference on how municipalities in Illinois can avoid or resolve fiscal stress.
April 23, 2014

2013

Twentieth Annual Agriculture Conference

The annual agriculture conference will explore the risks faced by agricultural producers and lenders, as well as the risk-management tools available to them.
November 19, 2013

What’s after Bankruptcy? Lessons in Governance Reform and Financial Planning from Other Cities

In the wake of Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, this program will examine how other cities facing fiscal crises regained their footing.
November 7-8, 2013

Economic Boot Camp

If you teach economics, please join us at this boot camp, co-sponsored with the Michigan Council on Economic Education, where you will learn about personal finance, the Federal Reserve, the European Union and economics.
June 26-27, 2013

Twentieth Annual Automotive Outlook Symposium

On May 30 and May 31, 2013, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted its Twentieth Annual Automotive Outlook Symposium at its Detroit Branch. The symposium included near-term automotive and outlook and the long-term structure of the industry.
May 30-31, 2013

New Access to Energy: Midwest and Global Industry Impacts

This conference will focus primarily on shifting markets, development opportunities and economic impacts.
April 8-9, 2013

Managing Economic Development in Times of Fiscal Uncertainty: Past Crises and Current Strategies

The forum will address economic development in times of fiscal uncertainty.
April 4, 2013

2012

Workshop on Property Tax Incentives and the Treatment of Tax-Exempt Property

Co-sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Metropolis Strategies and the Civic Federation, this conferene explored the role of property tax incentives in supporting business growth and the treatment of nonprofit entities in the tax base.
November 30, 2012

Farmland Leases: Tales, Types and Trends

The annual agriculture conference will examine trends in farmland leasing and analyze various types of leases, within the context of the changes facing agriculture in the Midwest.
November 27, 2012

Beyond Parking Meters: The Future of Public-Private Partnerships in Illinois

The Civic Federation, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, presented a half-day conference on the subject of public-private partnerships.
March 14, 2012

Nineteenth Annual Automotive Outlook Symposium

On May 31 and June 1, 2012, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted its Nineteenth Annual Automotive Outlook Symposium at its Detroit Branch. The symposium included near-term automotive and outlook and the long-term structure of the industry.
May 31-June 1, 2012

Twenty-Sixth Annual Economic Outlook Symposium

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted its twenty-sixth annual Economic Outlook Symposium to focus on the forces shaping the U.S. expansion as it enters 2013.
November 26, 2012

2011

Twenty-Fifth Annual Economic Outlook Symposium

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted its twenty-fifth annual Economic Outlook Symposium to focus on the forces shaping the U.S. expansion as it enters 2012.
December 2, 2011

Midwest Economy: Outlook for 2012 and Beyond

The Regional Programs team hosted a conference to discuss the outlook for the Midwest.
December 1, 2011

Rising Farmland Values: Causes and Cautions

The annual agriculture conference will explore the factors contributing to large increases in agricultural land values and cash rental rates in the Midwest.
November 15, 2011

Food Safety: Policy Changes, Science-Based Opportunities

This program was designed to provide a forum for meaningful interactions between key executives and scientists, with a view to creating new products and novel, effective solutions to improve food safety.
July 19, 2011

State Budgets under Stress: Paths to Sustainability

This program looked at the current state of budgets and long-term challenges.
June 24, 2011

Eighteenth Annual Automotive Outlook Symposium

This year's symposium focuses on the near-term automotive outlook and the long-term structure of the industry.
June 2-3, 2011

2010

Economic Outlook Symposium

The symposium focused on the forces shaping the U.S. recovery during 2011.
December 3, 2010

Annual Agriculture Conference

The theme of this year's Agriculture Conference examined the intersections of Midwest agriculture and rural development.
November 9, 2010

Charting Illinois's Fiscal Future: Dealing with Structural Deficits and the Implications of High Levels of Future Debt

This conference was co-sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois and was designed to investigate the implications of fiscal insolvency.
June 17–18, 2010

Seventeenth Annual Automotive Outlook Symposium

This year's symposium focused on the near-term outlook for sales and the long-term landscape of automotive production.
June 3– 4, 2010

After the Perfect Storm: Competitive Forces Shaping the Auto Industry

This conference focused on the question of which factors will shape the industry's competitiveness going forward.
May 10-11, 2010

Health Care, the Employer and Insurance

This year’s program analyzed the role of insurance in the health care system.
April 26-27, 2010

New Perspectives on Health and Health Care Policy

Leading researchers on health care policy discussed new perspectives on important policy topics.
March 22-23, 2010


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