Liberty Street Economics

« | Main | »

May 19, 2016

Just Released: Presenting U.S. Economy in a Snapshot at Our Economic Press Briefing

LSE_Just Released: Presenting U.S. Economy in a Snapshot at Our Economic Press Briefing

Monitoring the economic and financial landscape is a difficult task. Part of the challenge stems from simply having access to data. Even if this requirement is met, there is the issue of identifying the key economic data releases and financial variables to focus on among the vast number of available series. It is also critical to be able to interpret movements in the data and to know their implications for the economy. Since last June, New York Fed research economists have been helping on this front, by producing U.S. Economy in a Snapshot, a series of charts and commentary capturing important economic and financial developments. At today’s Economic Press Briefing, we took reporters covering the Federal Reserve through the story of how and why the Snapshot is produced, and how it can be helpful in understanding the U.S. economy.

Our presentation drew from the May Snapshot and focused on several issues of current interest. For example, there was a marked slowdown in the growth of consumer spending in 2016:Q1 despite relatively low gasoline prices, solid growth in real disposable income, and a labor market that has shown steady improvement. In addition, there are tentative signs that the manufacturing sector may be stabilizing in the aftermath of a strong dollar and weakness overseas that depressed demand for U.S. exports. Related to the previous point, the manufacturing sector has also been impacted by low oil prices that have led to a significant pullback in oil and gas drilling activity and resulted in a decline of business investment in nonresidential structures. On the inflation front, the decline in goods prices since 2013 stemming from lower import prices has acted to restrain core inflation.

We also reviewed the range of content that readers can expect to find in each monthly release. For example, we regularly feature a broad range of topics that includes labor and financial markets, the behavior of consumers and firms, as well as survey responses and the global economy. Moreover, there is typically a “Special Topic” section whose coverage can range from reporting results from the New York Fed’s Survey of Consumer Expectations or Consumer Credit Panel, providing a summary of Liberty Street Economics blog posts, or highlighting research by New York Fed economists such as the decomposition of oil price changes into demand and supply effects.

There are a large number of “moving parts” shaping economic and financial conditions, and they rarely offer a clear signal about the state of these conditions. We’re pleased to share the Snapshot as a comprehensive take on current economic and financial developments and as a backdrop for key issues of concern to policymakers.

The Snapshot is typically posted in the middle of every month—subject to any restrictions associated with the meeting schedule of the Federal Open Market Committee. We have also recently expanded, to the fullest extent possible, the number of charts for which we post spreadsheet data.

For the latest Snapshot and accompanying spreadsheet data as well as other information such as previous publications, posting schedule, and subscription instructions, visit the U.S. Economy in a Snapshot website. We also tweet highlights of each release on our New York Fed Research Twitter account (follow @nyfedresearch).


The views expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the author.


Robert Rich is an assistant vice president in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Research and Statistics Group.

How to cite this blog post:

Robert Rich, “Just Released: Presenting U.S. Economy in a Snapshot at Our Economic Press Briefing,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York Liberty Street Economics (blog), May 19, 2016,

About the Blog

Liberty Street Economics features insight and analysis from New York Fed economists working at the intersection of research and policy. Launched in 2011, the blog takes its name from the Bank’s headquarters at 33 Liberty Street in Manhattan’s Financial District.

The editors are Michael Fleming, Andrew Haughwout, Thomas Klitgaard, and Asani Sarkar, all economists in the Bank’s Research Group.

Liberty Street Economics does not publish new posts during the blackout periods surrounding Federal Open Market Committee meetings.

The views expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of the New York Fed or the Federal Reserve System.

Economic Research Tracker

Image of NYFED Economic Research Tracker Icon Liberty Street Economics is available on the iPhone® and iPad® and can be customized by economic research topic or economist.

Economic Inequality

image of inequality icons for the Economic Inequality: A Research Series

This ongoing Liberty Street Economics series analyzes disparities in economic and policy outcomes by race, gender, age, region, income, and other factors.

Most Read this Year

Comment Guidelines


We encourage your comments and queries on our posts and will publish them (below the post) subject to the following guidelines:

Please be brief: Comments are limited to 1,500 characters.

Please be aware: Comments submitted shortly before or during the FOMC blackout may not be published until after the blackout.

Please be relevant: Comments are moderated and will not appear until they have been reviewed to ensure that they are substantive and clearly related to the topic of the post.

Please be respectful: We reserve the right not to post any comment, and will not post comments that are abusive, harassing, obscene, or commercial in nature. No notice will be given regarding whether a submission will or will
not be posted.‎

Comments with links: Please do not include any links in your comment, even if you feel the links will contribute to the discussion. Comments with links will not be posted.

Send Us Feedback

Disclosure Policy

The LSE editors ask authors submitting a post to the blog to confirm that they have no conflicts of interest as defined by the American Economic Association in its Disclosure Policy. If an author has sources of financial support or other interests that could be perceived as influencing the research presented in the post, we disclose that fact in a statement prepared by the author and appended to the author information at the end of the post. If the author has no such interests to disclose, no statement is provided. Note, however, that we do indicate in all cases if a data vendor or other party has a right to review a post.