Information about the Seventh Federal Reserve District states, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Wisconsin; economic indicators; articles on Midwest issues; and news about conferences and projects.
Research Vice President Bill Testa and special guest commentators offer unique perspectives on the Midwest economy through this blog including topics such as engergy, regional production and the auto industry.
On November 17, 2015, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago will hold a conference to explore labor issues affecting agriculture and the rural Midwest. Registration is now open; early bird special registration fee available until October 14, 2015.
According to the latest estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Michigan economy grew by 1.9% in 2014 when compared with 2013 to an inflation-adjusted level of $417.3 billion. Our latest Michigan Economy blog discussess what this might mean for the state.
Led by declines in the construction and mining sector, the Midwest Economy Index (MEI) decreased to −0.12 in July from a neutral reading in June. The relative MEI declined to −0.08 in July from +0.12 in June. July’s value for the relative MEI indicates that Midwest economic growth was slightly less than what would typically be suggested by the growth rate of the national economy.
The Seventh Federal Reserve District had an annual decrease of 3 percent in “good” farmland values for 2014, marking the first yearly decline since 1986.
The July survey of MRA members showed 59 percent of retailers increased sales over the same month last year, while 20 percent recorded declines and 21 percent reported no change. The results create a seasonally adjusted performance index of 65.3, up from 63.9 in June. A year ago July the performance index stood at 74.9. The 100-point index gauges the performance of the state’s overall retail industry, based on monthly surveys conducted by MRA and the Federal Reserve. Index values above 50 generally indicate positive activity; the higher the number, the stronger the activity.
Looking forward, 56 percent of retailers expect sales during August–October to increase over the same period last year, while 16 percent project a decrease and 28 percent no change. That puts the seasonally adjusted outlook index at 69.7, down from 74.4 in June. A year ago July the outlook index stood at 76.7.
On May 29, 2015, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago held its annual automotive symposium. Twenty-six industry experts provided a consensus on the economy in 2015 and 2016. Presentations and a press release from the symposium are online.
The Civic Federation and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted a 2015 forum, Sin Taxes: The Sobering Fiscal Reality. The forum examined why governments implement or raise sin taxes and whether they are a reliable source of revenue. A Chicago Fed Letter summarizing the discussions is now online.
Taking another look at the fiscal pressures brought to light by Detroit's bankruptcy, senior economist Rick Mattoon investigates how Illinois communities are responding.
Seventh District farmland values in the first quarter of 2014 were 1 percent higher than a year ago. Values for “good” agricultural land in the first quarter of 2014 were 1 percent lower than in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Interested in community and economic development? Follow the latest posts in the Community Devolopment and Policy Studies blog!
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Midwest Economy events dating back through 2010 are available below. Many of our earlier events are available on our Past Events page and our conference series pages (links in the sidebar).
Annual Agriculture ConferenceThe Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago will hold its Annual Agricultural Conference to explore labor issues affecting agriculture and the rural Midwest.
November 17, 2015
Twenty-Second Annual Automotive Outlook SymposiumThis year's topics included the near-term automotive outlook and a discussion of how new technologies will impact the automotive market in the coming years.
May 29, 2015
Sin Taxes: The Sobering Fiscal RealityThe Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Board of Directors of the Civic Federation co-hosted a conference to examine why governments implement or raise sin taxes, whether they are a reliable source of revenue and ideas about their future use.
April 2, 2015
Annual Agriculture ConferenceDon't miss your chance to hear The Honorable Jill Long Thompson, Board Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Farm Credit Administration offer her insight on farm income.
November 17, 2014
Infrastructure and Economic Growth: Measuring the Impact and Funding ModelsThis program will examine what is known about the value of infrastructure investments based on recent research and explore funding models that may help to pay for infrastructure during a time of constrained government resources.
November 3, 2014
Twenty-First Annual Automotive Outlook SymposiumThis year's topics included the near-term automotive outlook and a discussion of EY's Automotive C-Suite's survey results.
April 23, 2014
After DetroitThe Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Board of Directors of the Civic Federation co-hosted a conference on how municipalities in Illinois can avoid or resolve fiscal stress.
April 23, 2014
Twentieth Annual Agriculture ConferenceThe annual agriculture conference will explore the risks faced by agricultural producers and lenders, as well as the risk-management tools available to them.
November 19, 2013
What’s after Bankruptcy? Lessons in Governance Reform and Financial Planning from Other CitiesIn the wake of Detroit’s bankruptcy filing, this program will examine how other cities facing fiscal crises regained their footing.
November 7-8, 2013
Economic Boot CampIf you teach economics, please join us at this boot camp, co-sponsored with the Michigan Council on Economic Education, where you will learn about personal finance, the Federal Reserve, the European Union and economics.
June 26-27, 2013
Twentieth Annual Automotive Outlook SymposiumOn May 30 and May 31, 2013, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted its Twentieth Annual Automotive Outlook Symposium at its Detroit Branch. The symposium included near-term automotive and outlook and the long-term structure of the industry.
May 30-31, 2013
New Access to Energy: Midwest and Global Industry ImpactsThis conference will focus primarily on shifting markets, development opportunities and economic impacts.
April 8-9, 2013
Managing Economic Development in Times of Fiscal Uncertainty: Past Crises and Current StrategiesThe forum will address economic development in times of fiscal uncertainty.
April 4, 2013
Workshop on Property Tax Incentives and the Treatment of Tax-Exempt PropertyCo-sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Metropolis Strategies and the Civic Federation, this conferene explored the role of property tax incentives in supporting business growth and the treatment of nonprofit entities in the tax base.
November 30, 2012
Farmland Leases: Tales, Types and TrendsThe annual agriculture conference will examine trends in farmland leasing and analyze various types of leases, within the context of the changes facing agriculture in the Midwest.
November 27, 2012
Beyond Parking Meters: The Future of Public-Private Partnerships in IllinoisThe Civic Federation, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, presented a half-day conference on the subject of public-private partnerships.
March 14, 2012
Nineteenth Annual Automotive Outlook SymposiumOn May 31 and June 1, 2012, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted its Nineteenth Annual Automotive Outlook Symposium at its Detroit Branch. The symposium included near-term automotive and outlook and the long-term structure of the industry.
May 31-June 1, 2012
Twenty-Sixth Annual Economic Outlook SymposiumThe Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted its twenty-sixth annual Economic Outlook Symposium to focus on the forces shaping the U.S. expansion as it enters 2013.
November 26, 2012
Twenty-Fifth Annual Economic Outlook SymposiumThe Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago hosted its twenty-fifth annual Economic Outlook Symposium to focus on the forces shaping the U.S. expansion as it enters 2012.
December 2, 2011
Midwest Economy: Outlook for 2012 and BeyondThe Regional Programs team hosted a conference to discuss the outlook for the Midwest.
December 1, 2011
Rising Farmland Values: Causes and CautionsThe annual agriculture conference will explore the factors contributing to large increases in agricultural land values and cash rental rates in the Midwest.
November 15, 2011
Food Safety: Policy Changes, Science-Based OpportunitiesThis program was designed to provide a forum for meaningful interactions between key executives and scientists, with a view to creating new products and novel, effective solutions to improve food safety.
July 19, 2011
State Budgets under Stress: Paths to SustainabilityThis program looked at the current state of budgets and long-term challenges.
June 24, 2011
Eighteenth Annual Automotive Outlook SymposiumThis year's symposium focuses on the near-term automotive outlook and the long-term structure of the industry.
June 2-3, 2011
Economic Outlook SymposiumThe symposium focused on the forces shaping the U.S. recovery during 2011.
December 3, 2010
Annual Agriculture ConferenceThe theme of this year's Agriculture Conference examined the intersections of Midwest agriculture and rural development.
November 9, 2010
Charting Illinois's Fiscal Future: Dealing with Structural Deficits and the Implications of High Levels of Future DebtThis conference was co-sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois and was designed to investigate the implications of fiscal insolvency.
June 17–18, 2010
Seventeenth Annual Automotive Outlook SymposiumThis year's symposium focused on the near-term outlook for sales and the long-term landscape of automotive production.
June 3– 4, 2010
After the Perfect Storm: Competitive Forces Shaping the Auto IndustryThis conference focused on the question of which factors will shape the industry's competitiveness going forward.
May 10-11, 2010
Health Care, the Employer and InsuranceThis year’s program analyzed the role of insurance in the health care system.
April 26-27, 2010
New Perspectives on Health and Health Care PolicyLeading researchers on health care policy discussed new perspectives on important policy topics.
March 22-23, 2010