Sunday, August 27, 2006

FRED - Federal Reserve Economic Data

Thanks to several references from Barry Ritholz' at his blog The Big Picture, I learned of the great trend watching work that the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank is posting on the web site including their monthly report on National Economic Trends.

One of the things I liked especially about the National Economic Trends publication is the way it pulled key metrics together from many different economic data sources and put them all in one place. What this means is that important trends that might only have been observed by a handful of experts are readily made available to non experts who previously didn't even know of their existence. I personally found some of the charts eye opening including the ones showing household debt service and household financial obligations as a percentage of disposable income.

I also liked their clean trend graphics and the frequent use they made of showing quite long time series going back 25 years or more.

Over the weekend, I discovered and began experimenting with their excellent database and trending engine that is available free online at FRED - Federal Reserve Economic Data. My first impressions are that this is going to be a terrific resource for anyone who wishes to grasp a multi-dimensional view of what's happening economically in the US and around the world.

If you haven't already tried it out, you will be pleasantly surprised.

I'll have more to say about some of its excellent features and capabilities in future posts.

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