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.
Registration is now open for the Chicago Fed's Annual Agriculture Conference on November 27, 2018, in the Bank's conference center. This year's theme is Agricultural Technology's Impacts on Framing and the Rural Midwest. We will be exploring the opportunities, and challenges, that technology is presenting to those in the midwestern farming sector.
We are pleased to announce Dean Karen I. Plaut of Purdue University as this year's keynote. As dean, Dr. Plaut is responsible for administering academic programs in the College of Agriculture, the Indiana Agricultural Experiment Station, the Purdue Cooperative Extension Service and a number of state regulatory services.
Register before October 19, 2018, to receive an early bird discount on the conference fee. A block of hotel rooms at a reduced rate have been reserved at the Club Quarters, with a cut-off date of October 26, 2018. We look forward to your joining us at what promises to be an informative look toward the future of agriculture.
According to the most recent AgLetter, Seventh District farmland values in the second quarter of 2018 were 1 percent higher than a year ago. Values for “good” agricultural land in the second quarter of 2018 were 2 percent higher than in the first quarter.
In the AgLetter in Perspective, David Oppedahl provides some context to this quarter's results.
The District plays an important role in international trade. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 8.9% of U.S. exports in 2016 were food and agricultural products, with 12.7% of those exports coming from the five states of the Seventh Federal Reserve District. Learn what attendees at the 2017 Agriculture Conference had to share about our ties to the global economy
The Michigan Retail Index’s July survey found 46 percent of respondents reported sales increases over June. Twenty-nine percent of retailers recorded declines in July and 25 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 53.5, a leap up from the 46.1 performance index reported in June, making July one of the stronger sales months in 2018. A year ago, the Retail Index was 44.5.
The Retail Index shows that 67 percent of Michigan retailers expect strong sales through October, while 16 percent predict a decrease and 17 percent expect no change. That results in an adjusted outlook index of 76.2 – a good sign for a strong finish to summer and beginning of fall.
The Midwest Economy Index (MEI) decreased to +0.40 in June from +0.58 in May. Contributions to the June MEI from three of the four broad sectors of nonfarm business activity and four of the five Seventh Federal Reserve District states decreased from May. The relative MEI rose to +0.01 in June from –0.37 in May. Contributions to the June relative MEI from three of the four sectors and all five states increased from May.
The Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions (CFSBC) Activity Index moved down to +7 from +20, suggesting that growth in economic activity remained at a moderate pace in late May and June.
Michigan’s unemployment rate fell in 2017 to 4.6% for the eighth consecutive year since peaking at 13.7% in 2009. The drop from the peak–over 9 percentage points—is the largest recorded in any state during that time. The state’s labor market has arguably strengthened each year of its economic recovery from the Great Recession. And the size of the labor force and labor force participation rate have trended higher since 2013, after falling in each of the eight years prior to 2013. In this blog, Martin Lavelle looks at Michigan’s household employment by county.
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.
Illinois is one of several states facing severe state and local public pension crises, but it is uniquely constrained in its ability to address the problem due to recent judicial rulings that all but prohibit pension benefit changes for current and retired public employees. A conference co-sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Civic Federation on April 17, 2018, examined the state’s options. This Chicago Fed Letter offers a summary of the conversations and presentations that took place.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago held its 31st annual Economic Outlook Symposium on December 1, 2017. More than 100 economists and analysts from business, academia, and government attended the conference. Presentations and a Chicago Fed Letter summarizing the symposium are online.
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.
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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).