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Recent St. Louis Fed Banking and Economic Research

Monday, July 1, 2013

Farm Income, Land Values Rise in Eighth District

Our latest survey of agricultural banks in the Eighth District shows that farm income, along with capital and household spending, rose modestly in the second quarter compared with a year earlier. Farmland values in the second quarter were 11 percent higher than in the first quarter, rising to a District average of $5,672 per acre. Cash rents for quality farmland rose 6.7 percent from the first quarter to the second, averaging $183 per acre. To find out more about agricultural credit conditions, read the latest issue of Agricultural Finance Monitor.

Mind the Regional Output Gap

When looking at the performance of the economy on a national scale, the recovery has been slow. However, progress varies significantly from state to state. For example, poorer/smaller states have experienced a more rapid recovery than have wealthier/larger states since the Great Recession. Find out more in this recent installment in our Economic Synopses series.

The Mechanics Behind Manufacturing Job Losses

Manufacturing jobs as a percentage of private employment have fallen by half since the late 1980s—from about 21 percent in 1987 to less than 11 percent today. Yet, manufacturing output as a percentage of private output has remained steady over this same period. Despite some economic distress associated with change in this sector, producing the same share of output with a declining share of the workforce reflects rising productivity and higher standards of living for the average American. For more, read this recent essay in our Economic Synopses series.

Unemployment Benefits: How Much Money Goes Unclaimed?

Even in challenging times, not everyone who is eligible to receive unemployment benefits actually collects them. For example, during the recent recession (2007-09), only about 50 percent of those eligible collected their benefits. A recent installment in our Economic Synopses series details these percentages, examines how they are impacted by unemployment benefit extensions and evaluates the savings generated due to unclaimed benefits. For 2009 alone, those savings are estimated at $100 billion.

Big Banks in Small Places: Are Community Banks Being Driven Out of Rural Markets?

Well-managed community banks can continue to remain competitive, at least in rural markets where their niche is most likely stronger than in urban markets. In this article from the May/June 2013 issue of Review, the authors explore the viability of the community bank business model in rural markets. The two main advantages are that the cost of relationship lending may be lower in rural areas than in urban areas and rural markets likely have higher percentages of borrowers for whom there is limited quantitative information.

Average Household Has Yet To Recover from Crisis

The average household has recovered about 63 percent of the net worth that it lost during the financial crisis. In dollars, average household net worth, adjusted for inflation and population growth, has grown by $95,335 from its low point at the end of the first quarter of 2009. At least an additional $56,000 would be needed to return that figure to its precrisis peak. Read more about the state of household balance sheets in a recent issue of In the Balance, a publication from the St. Louis Fed’s Center for Household Financial Stability.

What Flattened the Earnings Profile of Recent College Graduates?

The average life-cycle earnings profile for college graduates of more-recent birth cohorts increased at a slower rate than that of cohorts who entered the workforce many decades ago. Continue reading this essay in our Economic Synopses series to find out why and to discover the theoretical link between a measure of ability and the life-cycle earnings profile.

Winners and Losers in the Great Recession

A significant number of industries—representing roughly a quarter of the U.S. economy—conducted business as usual during the most recent recession when judged by pre-recession trends. For a slightly larger group of industries—mostly related to construction, manufacturing and trade—the contractions have been severe, reinforcing a preexisting process of steady relative decline. Read more in this recent essay from our Economic Synopses series.

Why Are Student Loan Debt and Delinquency Rates Growing?

Student loan debt increased significantly over the past few years, almost doubling from half a trillion dollars in 2007 to nearly $1 trillion today. And in the third quarter of 2012, the share of delinquent student loan balances exceeded the share of delinquent credit card balances. Explore the reasons why in a recent issue of Inside the Vault.