Press Releases

Econ Focus, First Quarter 2017

May 31, 2017

Richmond Fed’s Econ Focus Magazine Looks at Missing Homebuyers

The latest issue of Econ Focus, the economics magazine of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, looks at the lack of “boomerang buyers” in the housing market. Some analysts had expected homeowners who lost their homes during the housing crisis and whose credit has since recovered to reenter the marketplace. But so far, that hasn’t been the case. Why not? And what will it mean for the housing market if that continues? The cover story of our latest Econ Focus looks at the forces at work for these missing buyers.

Also in this issue:

  • Self-driving trucks. Self-driving cars are getting the attention now, but self-driving trucks are also on the way — perhaps sooner. What does this mean for labor markets? Truck driving is one of the largest occupations in which non-college-educated workers can attain middle-class earnings. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates, some 1.8 million Americans make their living as heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers.
  • The future of small colleges. Small private colleges are under increasing strain as more students opt for larger institutions — especially in urban settings where job opportunities are more plentiful. For instance, Sweet Briar College in Virginia recently teetered on the verge of closure until its alumnae launched a successful rescue effort. Observers are asking whether small colleges can continue to thrive. In the Fifth District, several schools are trying to buck the trend.
  • The Fed’s Mexico crisis. Shortly after NAFTA went into effect in the mid-1990s, Mexico faced a major financial crisis. The Fed was called upon to help fund a U.S. Treasury-led loan package to forestall Mexico’s default. The episode sparked a debate within the Federal Open Market Committee about the Fed’s foreign operations and its relationship with the Treasury — a debate in which the Richmond Fed played a key role.
  • Interview with Janet Currie of Princeton University on access to health care and safety-net programs, the economic and health effects of pollution, and how prenatal exposures and socioeconomic differences affect child and adult health.
  • And more on economic issues affecting the Fifth Federal Reserve District and the nation.

For a free subscription to Econ Focus or for copies of the magazine, call (800) 322-0565 or subscribe online. The articles also are available online.


The Richmond Fed serves the Fifth Federal Reserve District, which includes the District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and most of West Virginia. As part of the nation's central bank, we're one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that work together with the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors to strengthen the economy and our communities. We manage the nation's money supply to keep inflation low and help the economy grow. We also supervise and regulate financial institutions to help safeguard our nation's financial system and protect the integrity and efficiency of our payments system.

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