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.

Region Focus

Third Quarter 2011

Region Focus, Third Quarter 2011

Cover Story

Why Aren't We Creating More Jobs?

The United States has gained a little more than 1 million jobs since the end of the most recent downturn — far from the number needed to put 14 million people back to work. Given the factors holding back job growth, traditional policy tools might not be able to offer a solution.

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Don't Know Much About Financial Literacy: In this classroom, the right choice may be (d) all of the above

The financial crisis revealed a widespread need for better financial education. What have we learned since then about how to improve financial literacy?
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The End of Nowhere: What can ghost towns teach us about saving small communities?

With only seven residents, Thurmond, W.Va., is the smallest incorporated town in the Fifth District. Once bustling and prosperous, Thurmond has become practically a ghost town. Is the fate of places like Thurmond a tragedy or a "monument to American dynamism"?
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The Fish Market: What happened when Virginia brought tradable quotas to the commons?

Resources without ownership — commons — are easily exploited, even wiped out. Individual fishermen have little incentive to conserve as long as others are busy catching. Evidence from a Virginia program suggests that if fishermen can buy and sell shares of the fishing quota, the fish and the fishermen may be better off.
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A New Kind of Farm

"Server farms" run by Apple, Google, and Facebook won't replace manufacturing jobs lost in western North Carolina. But these massive data centers may bring other benefits.
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Toil and Trouble for Revenue Forecasters: Greater sensitivity to business cycles has made state tax revenues more difficult to predict

State revenue forecasts have become progressively less reliable following each of the past three recessions. As capital gains become more unpredictable, tax revenue experts advise states to build larger rainy-day funds.
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Volatility at the Pump: Where do high gas prices come from?

Gas prices have fluctuated over the past few years. What drives prices at the pump? Two-thirds of the price is determined by the price crude oil brings on the world market.
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Aaron Steelman
Publications Director