federal reserve

St. Louis Fed research shows links between financial distress and vulnerability to COVID-19, offers guidance on fiscal policy

Early-stage research from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis examines the correlations between an area’s level of financial distress and its vulnerability to both the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fed’s initial findings indicate that areas with low levels of financial distress were infected with the coronavirus and reached the point of exponential growth in new infections before areas experiencing greater levels of financial distress, while the rate of new infections is higher in more distressed areas. It also finds that a greater share of workers from areas of higher distress work in industries that are more vulnerable to the economic shocks caused by the virus than workers from areas of lower financial distress.

The growing college wealth divide — a quick look

While the income benefits of a college education receive frequent attention, a recent article from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis highlights the importance of a college degree for wealth accumulation. The average wealth for a college-educated household has tripled since the 1970s, while wealth for households without degrees have remained stagnant. These divergent trends in economic well-being are further evidence of the growing inequality among Americans, and the rising importance of education to staying ahead of this divide.

While economic expansion continues, several states forecasted to experience contractions

While the longest economic expansion in modern times in the U.S. continues and fears of a nationwide recession have subsided, there are signs that growth is slowing, and some states may be at risk for a recession.

Rural hospital closures impacting counties’ employment, wage growth

A recent story from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City examines how hospital closures in rural areas have economic impacts that reverberate throughout the community. The report’s author, Kelly Edmiston, found that rural counties with hospital closures saw meaningfully lower annual growth in employment and aggregate wages three years after the closure than counties without hospital closures. Closings were found to have a larger effect on smaller counties, where the hospital has a higher share of employment and wages relative to the total county employment and wages.

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