Pieces of Eight: News Bulletins from the Eighth Federal Reserve District

April 01, 1994

What Do Employment Statistics Really Tell Us?

If a person starts a job at a new manufacturing plant or leaves a job to care for a child, the result is a flow of workers into and out of employment. Ordinarily, these flows are condensed into a single statistic, the net change in employment. According to St. Louis Fed economist Joseph A. Ritter, this statistic hides an interesting and informative dimension of the labor market: the gross number of jobs created and destroyed.

In the current issue of the St. Louis Fed's bimonthly research publication, Review, Ritter examines three approaches to measuring the flows of workers and jobs and illustrates some striking features of the U.S. labor market. For example, falling employment during recessions usually results from dramatic increases in job destruction rather than drops in job creation. Job creation usually rises sharply during recoveries. But the most recent recession was a typical; job destruction rose much less than usual, and there was no surge in job creation during the recovery. For a copy of the Review, please call Debbie Dawe at (314) 444-8809.

An Important Source of Economic Information

To keep the U.S. economy on track, the Fed regularly takes the economic pulse of the 12 Reserve Districts. One of the ways it does this is in regular meeting with various groups of bankers and business leaders, like the Federal Advisory Council or FAC.

Established by the Federal Reserve Act, the FAC consists of one representative from each of the 12 Federal Reserve districts. The council confers at least four times each year with the Board of Governors on economic and banking developments and makes recommendations on Federal Reserve System activities. FAC representatives may be reappointed and can serve a maximum of three one-year terms.

The Eighth District's current FAC representative is Andrew B. Craig III, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Boatmen's Bancshares, Inc.

Federal Reserve Offers Tours

While thousands of people pass the St. Louis Fed each day, few have ventured inside its doors.

To help educate the public on the Federal Reserve System, the St. Louis Fed offers free tours Monday through Friday at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tours last approximately 45 minutes and can be varied to suit the interests of a particular group.

While on tour, visitors see millions of dollars stored in the Fed's vault and the massive equipment used to sort currency and detect counterfeit bills. They also see the check processing equipment that reads and sorts thousands of checks every hour and the Fed's modern security system. Tour guides explain why the Fed was created and discuss its role in the U.S. economy.

Tours are available to anyone high school age or above. Please call at least three weeks before your desired tour date. For more information about the tour program at the head office, call Debbie Bangert at (314) 444-8421. For tours of one of the branches, call: Little Rock, Marilyn Burrows, (501) 324-8262; Louisville, Ruth Hollowell (502) 568-9271; Memphis, Brenda Gates (901) 579-2449.

Percentage of Interstate Highway Mileage Rated in Poor Condition, 1989

Rank Among 50 States District State Percent
7 Arkansas 2.6%
15 Illinois 5.5
24 Kentucky 8.4
28 Missouri 9.4
31 Tennessee 10.3
39 Indiana 12.6
46 Mississippi 18.9

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration

Views expressed in Regional Economist are not necessarily those of the St. Louis Fed or Federal Reserve System.

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