Economic Insights First Quarter 2021

by Brendan Barry

Economic Insights is a quarterly publication from the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia with a print distribution of 1100 and .pdfs made freely available to non-subscribers on the Bank's website. Economists and research analysts write non-technical articles about monetary policy, banking, and national, regional, and international economics intended for a wide audience.
For our 2022 edition we chose a continuing theme for our four covers with which we wanted to tell the story of Philadelphia's role in the history of central banking in the United States. The first quarter's cover looked at the Bank of North America, a predecessor to the the First National Bank, whose building no longer exists. We illustrated the building and used that style for the remainder of the year to depict the other Philadelphia sites we chose.
The articles inside explored three topics. In the first we examined how US household debt is aging, i.e. how older households have an increasing share of American debt, and the impact that has on US policymakers. We had a number of datasets we needed to visualise that showed how the older population differs from the middle-aged and the young populations.
Our second article looked at the response of US states to Covid-19. In particular we reviewed the impact of state orders to close business on employment. Here we needed to use a number of graphics that differentiated between the various types of state responses: from those that delayed between an initial order to shutdown to more specific lists of closures; those whose lists were a specific list of closures; those states that never clarified their lists; and finally that one state that never issued business shutdown orders.
The third article, part of a running feature on the region's banking industry, examined how capital ratios...


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Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Research Department