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Econ Focus

Econ Focus (formerly Region Focus) is the economics magazine of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. It covers economic issues affecting the Fifth Federal Reserve District and the nation and is published on a quarterly basis by the Bank's Research Department.

Econ Focus

First Quarter 2010

Quarter 1 2010 Cover Image

Cover Story

The New Normal? Economists ponder whether the "natural" rate of unemployment has risen

Economists often speak of a natural rate of unemployment that the economy tends to gravitate toward over the long run. But if the natural rate has risen lately, as some economists suspect, then unemployment may not fall anytime soon to the levels seen before the recent downturn.
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Shoppers for the Long Haul: The past, present, and future of consumption

Consumer activity still represents the biggest chunk of the nation's output, but the economic downturn has dampened the enthusiasm of U.S. shoppers. What has influenced previous patterns of consumption and how might that help inform expectations about future consumption trends.
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The National Headcount: Census emphasizes outreach to improve accuracy

It's difficult to count everyone during the nationwide decennial census. The Census Bureau, using federal stimulus money, has decided to expand its outreach to increase the response rate of those who have been overlooked in past counts.

Nobody's Home: Weighing the prospects for neighborhoods hit hard by foreclosure

A historically large number of homes are vacant across the Fifth District, some from recent foreclosures, some from long-term decline in local economies. How to explain and to cope with the potentially deleterious effects these homes may have on localities has become an important question for community leaders and policymakers.
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