Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

a rolling dollar bill
dleafy | sxc.hu

Things are on the upswing for the St. Louis regional economy.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Burgundy Book, the quarterly summary of economic conditions, shows positive trends in the last quarter of 2014. That includes a declining unemployment rate, stronger home sales, and a spike in manufacturing exports.

Kevin Kliesen, a business economist and research officer at the Fed, said St. Louis’ economy is beginning to improve at a faster pace.

Derek Laney, Michael McPhearson, and Jeff Ordower (from left to right) were among protesters outside the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis on Thursday.
(Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio)

What recovery?

That was the question being asked Thursday by a small group of activists outside the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

About a dozen protesters called on the Fed to focus on unemployment, especially among minorities, rather than on keeping inflation rates low. They said if the Federal Open Market Committee raises the interest rate this year, as anticipated, it would likely mean fewer jobs.

houses for sale, housing market
(Flickr, Tom Caswell)

St. Louis’ housing market is recovering from the so-called "Great Recession,' but its pace is slower than in other areas of the country.

That was the message members of the St. Louis Association of Realtors heard at the group’s annual economic forecast breakfast Wednesday.

Bills Emmons, an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Division of Banking Supervision and Regulation, told the group that St. Louis is following national trends in the housing market.

Eastern Missouri and southern Illinois saw the unemployment rate drop significantly to 6.3 percent - the lowest level since mid-2008.
BLS, courtesy of Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis shows two-thirds of businesses surveyed are moderately optimistic about the St. Louis region's economic outlook in 2015.

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis at Locust St. and N. Broadway, circa 1924-1925 just after the building went up.
Courtesy of the St. Louis Fed

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis celebrates its centennial anniversary this year.

St. Louis was one of 12 Reserve Banks that opened for business on November 16, 1914. They were all part of the Federal Reserve System created when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law in December 1913.

(Flickr/Thomas Karl Gunnarsson)

When large numbers of young people are unemployed, it is not only a blow to the individuals, it is also a missed economic opportunity for the region. That was the overarching message of a panel discussion held Thursday by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and STL Youth Jobs.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates that in 2012, 15 percent of people ages 16 to 24 in the U.S. were not employed, not in school or not getting job training. For each of those “detached” youth, the economy misses out on $14,000 annually.

As the United States economy returns to a healthier state, one generation in particular is lagging behind in returning to pre-recession levels of wealth: millennials.

Young people in their 20s and 30s have taken a greater hit from the recession than any other age group, bringing into question whether the American dream of upward mobility is obtainable for them.

(via Flickr/MoneyPit)

Younger families are not recovering as quickly from the recession as their elders.

An analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that families headed by someone younger than 40 have recovered only about one-third of their pre-recession wealth.

Meanwhile older families have nearly regained their pre-crisis level of wealth.

So, why are those under 40 having a harder time recovering?

Digging out of an economic crisis can be a lot more complicated than getting in to one and can take a lot more time, too.  While there are positive signs that we are climbing out of the recession, there is still considerable fallout, especially for young couples and recent college grads. 

Jobs are still hard to find for newcomers in the job market and college debt is overwhelming for many. The housing market decline, and resulting loss of wealth, was especially painful for young home owners.