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April Issue of St. Louis Fed's The Regional Economist Now Available


ST. LOUIS – The April 2012 issue of The Regional Economist, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ quarterly review of business and economic conditions, is now available.  The full issue can be accessed online at

The issue’s articles include:

  • “College Degrees:  Why Aren’t More People Making the Investment” – The benefits of a college diploma are many, including higher pay, lower unemployment, maybe even better health.  Yet, many high school graduates still do not pursue a college degree.  This article examines several key reasons why more people aren’t making this investment in themselves.

  • “Credit Default Swaps and Their Role in Europe” – Did you know that buying a credit default swap can be like buying insurance on your neighbor’s car — and then getting paid when that neighbor has an accident?  Learn the ABCs of CDS, and find out why they are so important to any discussion about the European debt crisis.

  • “When Oil Prices Jump, Is Speculation to Blame?” –Whenever the price at the pump rises week after week, people start pointing fingers at investment banks, hedge funds and other speculators.  This article quantifies the role that speculation played in the rise of oil prices during the past decade; the role of other key forces is also examined.

  • “New Technology May Cause Stock Volatility” – Volatility in the stock market is not confined to the short term.  Pronounced movements can be long-lived.  One reason is that publicly traded companies use established technologies and once those no longer are the engines of growth, decades can pass before the innovators with new technologies go public.

  • “Economy Is Expected To Build Up Steam” – Although the consensus forecast is for modest, below-trend growth, GDP for the year will likely be stronger than last year’s growth of 1.6 percent.  One potential risk, though, is rising energy prices.

  • “Reallocation of Credit Has Yet To Bounce Back” – Credit reallocation has yet to return to prerecession levels in either the nation at large or in the Eighth District.  This is important because credit reallocation is a key indicator of an economy’s strength.

  • “Online Extra:  Earnings Growth over  a Lifetime: Not What It Used To Be” – An examination of the lifetime earnings of high school-educated workers born in the 1910s, 1920s, 1930s and 1940s shows that people aren’t getting raises in pay as they once did.  The same trend holds true for those with a college degree.  Read this online-only article at

  • “Community Profile: Carroll County, Tenn.” – Like many rural counties, this area around Huntingdon at one time had been heavily dependent on factory jobs.  After that work started to disappear in the 1990s, civic leaders vowed to diversify.  An arts center and a man-made lake have Carroll County headed in that direction.