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This department in Econ Focus dives into local and regional economic issues and trends.

Econ Focus, First/Second Quarter 2024

Uptake in SNAP, which supports low-income households enduring persistent poverty and fights food insecurity, varies over time and geography depending on the U.S. business cycle as well as state-specific factors.

Econ Focus, Fourth Quarter 2023

Efforts such as subsidizing public transportation, providing access to auto loans, and limiting driver's license suspension laws could help address employment barriers for low-income and rural individuals.

Econ Focus, Third Quarter 2023

Understanding and appropriately measuring the role that community colleges play in rural areas is important to how we evaluate policies and funding for workforce and community development throughout the rural Fifth District.

Econ Focus, Second Quarter 2023

Social capital — the strength of social networks within communities — can be important to economic mobility. We look at how this measure varies for communities across our district.

Econ Focus, First Quarter 2023

The two most commonly used income benchmarks are the poverty threshold and area median income (AMI). This article discusses differences between them and how they are used to describe income dynamics in the context of the Fifth District.

Econ Focus, Fourth Quarter 2022

Different people have disparate experiences in accessing credits. Exploring ways to close this credit access gap could provide more economic opportunities for underprivileged areas.

Econ Focus, Third Quarter 2022

States and school districts are using a variety of policies – including financial incentives – to try to combat a teacher shortage.

Econ Focus, Second Quarter 2022

Numerous factors — including population growth, education, housing, transportation, child care, health, and broadband availability — are shaping the differences in employment outcomes between rural and urban communities.

Econ Focus, First Quarter 2022

Although people often associate high housing costs with urban areas, many households in rural areas also struggle with costly housing

Econ Focus, Fourth Quarter 2021

Crime is a complex, multidimensional problem. Different factors explain the large observed variability in crime rates across geographic areas and demographic groups.

Econ Focus, Second/Third Quarter 2021

Many states, including some in the Fifth District, have enacted legislation in the last year to increase the minimum wage, and those increases will have both direct and indirect effects on workers, households, and businesses in the District.

Econ Focus, First Quarter 2021

Over the past 50 years, male labor force participation in the U.S. has fallen over 10 percentage points. What are the factors behind this decline?

Econ Focus, Fourth Quarter 2020

For the housing market, the coronavirus recession in 2020 was unusual: Demand for homes was strong and price growth remained solid.

Roisin McCord

Econ Focus, Second/Third Quarter 2020

Traditional employment data are often lagged, so during the COVID-19 pandemic, economists and policymakers shifted to high-frequency data that may better capture rapidly changing conditions.

Econ Focus, First Quarter 2020

Population decline has been a problem for many rural communities, including in the Fifth District. What are the current trends and potential strategies to address it?

Econ Focus, Fourth Quarter 2019

Community colleges serve a larger share of minority students than public or private four-year schools.

Econ Focus, First Quarter 2019

Why are hospitals in rural areas closing at a higher rate, and what are the consequences for these communities?

Econ Focus, Third Quarter 2018

The Fifth District includes both urban and rural communities. How do we define urban and rural, and what do data tell us about the disparities?

Econ Focus, Second Quarter 2018

The Richmond Fed looks at the economic impact of the opioid crisis in the Fifth District.

Econ Focus, Second Quarter 2015

TELs are part of a larger set of fiscal rules aimed at curbing the budget process with the objective of constraining decisions made by governments. Recent research has examined the effectiveness of TELs in achieving their intended objectives.

Econ Focus, Fourth Quarter 2014

State governments that recognize the tremendous economic value that aircraft manufacturing can bring their communities are actively courting such plants to bolster their aerospace clusters.

Econ Focus, Second Quarter 2014

U.S. energy production has risen sharply in recent years and is expected to continue to grow at remarkable rates in coming decades — with benefits for the U.S. economy overall as well as within the Fifth District.

Index displays content through 2014. Earlier articles dating back to 2003 are available on our website in PDF form only.