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