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

July 01, 1995

Building a Better Mousetrap

In our continuing effort to produce publications that better serve our readers, we recently instituted a number of changes in two of our statistical publications: Monetary Trends and International Economic Trends, formerly International Economic Conditions. The changes were based on responses to reader surveys.

The Monetary Trends (MT) publication now features more charts; for example, readers will now find charts on small time and savings deposits. International Economic Trends (IET) saw even more substantive changes to its content. We added an additional measure of the stock of money, as well as information on international trade and services for each G-7 country. The new IET also sports more tables to make it easier for readers to draw cross-country comparisons on variables like inflation and unemployment.

We hope regular readers of MT and IET will find these changes give you more of the economic data you want. And for those of you unfamiliar with either of these publications, or National Economic Trends, which was revised earlier this year, we invite you to call Cindy Davis of our Public Affairs Office at (314) 444-8808 for a free copy.

Narrowing Our Focus

When the 12 members of the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee sit down to deliberate about monetary policy eight times a year, they have a tough task at hand: Decide what to do with the nation's money supply. What makes the job so tough is that the committee members are trying to achieve multiple goals when they make their decision. And the goals, such as promoting "sustainable growth in output," are so vaguely defined that the direction the country needs to head in threatens to become so, too.

In the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank's 1994 annual report, President Thomas C. Melzer says that the current method of monetary policymaking "might inhibit the Fed from doing all it can to enhance real incomes and raise the standard of living in the United States." Instead, Melzer says, the Federal Reserve should take the tack other countries have recently and target one goal only: price stability.

For a free copy of the report, which includes a detailed analysis of the sole-goal argument, contact Debbie Dawe of our Public Affairs Office at (314) 444-8809.

Does Money Matter?

A group of more than 100 academics and economists from around the world met to explore this age-old economics question at the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank's 19th annual Economic Policy Conference, held last October. During the conference, four papers—all dealing with how monetary policy affects the real economy and prices—were presented by the economists who wrote them.

A panel discussion on the same topic was also held. The papers, along with critiques of them by other economists, have been compiled in a special issue of the Review, the Bank's economics journal. For a free copy of this conference proceedings issue, please call Debbie Dawe of our Public Affairs Office at (314) 444-8809.

After the Boom: Single-Family Building Permits by State

Rank Among 50 States District State 1995 Permits as a % of 1994
9 Kentucky 99.0
14 Mississippi 94.2
21 Illinois 90.2
23 Tennessee 89.5
29 Arkansas 85.6
31 Indiana 83.3
39 Missouri 79.4
National Average   85.2

NOTE: Percentage is calculated based on 1994 and 1995 year-to-date totals through April.

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of the Census

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

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