Recent St. Louis Fed Banking and Economic Research

“Dewey Defeats Truman”: Be Aware of Data Revisions

In 1948, a newspaper jumped the gun on preliminary vote counting and famously declared “Dewey Defeats Truman,” which, of course, isn’t what happened. Likewise, without an understanding of data revisions, policymakers and investors may be misled by the advance release of data when they make decisions.

As St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said in 2011, “One of the challenges we face as policymakers is the availability of data to assess the state of the economy in real time. Many economic data series ... are subject to subsequent revisions that can be quite sizable and can alter our perceptions of the economic situation.” Therefore, policymakers and investors need to base their decisions on 1) the data that are currently available and 2) the expectation for future data revisions. Read the brief essay on Page One Economics exploring this topic.

“Gini in a Bottle”: Some Facts on Income Inequality

Tackling the issue of income inequality remains a priority for some policymakers. Certain levels of income inequality will always exist in society as a reflection of variations in intellect and talent. However, public policies, especially ones designed to increase the educational attainment of the least skilled, can help workers compete in an increasingly globalized economy and promote more equal opportunity. Read more in this brief essay on Page One Economics.

Home Equity and Household Income

During 1995-2007, home equity increased more than gross income for high-, middle- and low-income groups. Read the possible reasons why in this Economic Synopsis by St. Louis Fed economists Bryan J. Noeth and Rajdeep Sengupta.

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 in the April 2012 issue of The Regional Economist examines several key reasons why more people aren’t making this investment in themselves.

Eighth District Second Quarter Economic Conditions in the St. Louis Fed’s Burgundy Books

According to the latest Burgundy Books, published June 22, the most recent data available on the St. Louis, Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis zones indicate the following:

St. Louis is performing below the nation in terms of annual employment growth and the issuance of building permits. In contrast, St. Louis fared the same or better than the nation in terms of the unemployment rate, short-run employment growth and house price growth. 

Little Rock is performing better than the nation in terms of the unemployment rate and annual house price growth. However, the zone’s performance has slipped below that of the nation in terms of annual employment growth, short-run employment growth and the issuance of building permits. 

Louisville is performing better than the nation in terms of annual employment growth and annual house price growth, while its performance in terms of the short-term changes in employment, the unemployment rate and issuance of building permits is less favorable than the nation’s.

Memphis is performing better than the nation in terms of annual employment growth and annual house price growth. The performance of Memphis’s unemployment rate, the issuance of building permits and short-run employment growth, however, are less favorable than the nation’s

The St. Louis Fed’s Burgundy Books are quarterly summaries of data on economic conditions in the Eighth District. The Burgundy Books serve as a region-specific complement to the Federal Open Market Committee’s Beige Book, which is a collection of anecdotal data the Federal Reserve uses to help it assess current and future economic conditions.

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