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 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.
According to the most recent AgLetter, Seventh District farmland values in the third quarter of 2018 were 1 percent higher than a year ago. However, values for “good” agricultural land in the third quarter of 2018 were 1 percent lower than in the second quarter.
In the AgLetter in Perspective, David Oppedahl provides some context to this quarter's results.
The Michigan Retail Index’s November survey showed that 49 percent of respondents reported sales increases over October. Thirty-seven percent of retailers recorded declines in November and 14 percent reported no change.
The Retail Index shows that 38 percent of Michigan retailers expect strong sales through February, while 21 percent predict a decrease and 41 percent expect no change. That results in an adjusted outlook index of 68.4 – a confident number as consumers finish their last-minute shopping for the holidays and close out the year.
The Midwest Economy Index (MEI) moved up slightly to +0.17 in December from +0.11 in November. Contributions to the December MEI from two of the four broad sectors of nonfarm business activity and three of the five Seventh Federal Reserve District states increased from November. The relative MEI rose to +0.13 in December from –0.20 in November. Contributions to the December relative MEI from all four sectors and all five states increased from November.
The Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions (CFSBC) Activity Index decreased slightly to –4 from –2, suggesting that growth in economic activity remained at a modest pace in late November and December. The CFSBC Manufacturing Activity Index moved down to –16 from +6, while the CFSBC Nonmanufacturing Activity Index moved up to +3 from –5.
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 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.
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.
Interested in community and economic development? Follow the latest posts in the Community Devolopment and Policy Studies blog!
This year, the Chicago Fed's Annual Agriculture Conference was held on November 27, 2018, in the Bank's conference center. This year's theme was Agricultural Technology's Impacts on Farming and the Rural Midwest. We explored the opportunities, and challenges, that technology is presenting to those in the midwestern farming sector.
Dean Karen I. Plaut of Purdue University was 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.
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).