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


ST. LOUIS – The April 2013 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 www.stlouisfed.org/publications/re/

The issue’s articles include:

  • President's Message: A Quarterly Monetary Policy Report Would Improve Fed Communications – In the article, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard shares his views on what a quarterly monetary policy report for the U.S. should entail and why such a report would be an improvement in Fed communications.
  • Banks and Credit Unions: Competition Not Going Away – Has the competitive balance tilted away from banks and toward credit unions, given the latter’s tax exemption and more-recent ability to draw members from wider pools?  Whether it has or not, both industries have seen similar trend growth over the past 15 years—and, in fact, have come to resemble each other in many ways.
  • A View from the Fiscal Cliff – January’s deal on the so-called fiscal cliff only raised projected revenue moderately and continued to push the spending issue forward unresolved.  The economy may have been slowed down by such a drawn-out process, as well as by the uncertainty on the future size of government and on the distribution of the tax burden.
  • Unemployment Insurance: Who Are the Frauds? – Concealed earnings represent the largest source of fraud in the U.S. unemployment insurance system.  Individuals with relatively low earnings constitute a larger fraction of those committing such fraud.  High-earnings individuals, however, account for larger dollar amounts of this fraud.
  • Low Interest Rates Have Yet To Spur Job Growth – Interest rates have been kept low for more than four years to stimulate aggregate demand and job growth.  However, these low rates don’t seem to be having much of the intended effect.  What economic mechanisms are working against low interest rate policy?  What do the economic models say would happen if rates were raised?
  • Signs Point to Stronger Growth in GDP This Year – Although there is no shortage of mediocre news about the economy, key underlying components registered solid growth in the fourth quarter of last year and are expected to keep growing this year.  As a result, growth in GDP this year is likely to top the 1.6 percent growth rate registered for 2012.
  • A Look at Population and Migration Trends – On average, urban areas in the District aren’t keeping up with their counterparts across the country when it comes to population growth.  However, the District’s urban areas fare better in some categories of migration and density.
  • Uncertainty and the Economy – Rising levels of economic uncertainty, which are common following a recession, are reportedly hindering firms from investing and expanding.  Monetary policymakers, likewise, are not immune to the challenges economic uncertainty poses.   
  • Community Profile: Mt. Vernon, Ill. – While Mt. Vernon’s location at a major crossroads is still an important driver of the local economy, the community is often stressing quality-of-life issues these days in an effort to attract residents and jobs.  At the same time, it’s pouring money into infrastructure and other basics, from new roads and medical facilities to a new high school.

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