There are many indicators to help us evaluate the U.S. economy, but international data are a little more limited. Which is why FRED is fortunate to have World Bank data to compare economic conditions across countries. Today, we look at how well banks are doing—according to their return on assets—all over the world. Measuring banks’ ROA is relatively simple: Aggregate the net income of all commercial banks in a country and divide this sum by their total assets.
The graph above shows three countries with contrasting fortunes. The most dramatic is Greece, whose banks have been struggling with bad debt. Then there’s Kenya, whose banks are doing surprisingly well, at least under this dimension. Finally, the United States is in the middle, with a noticeable dip during the financial crisis and lower returns since that crisis.
FRED has regional data that you can map using GeoFRED. And that’s exactly what we have
“While signals from the financial markets are flashing caution signs, the real economy remains on solid ground with steady job growth … which will drive up home sales this summer,” said Freddie Mac’s chief economist.
Greg Ugalde, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Torrington, Conn., issued the following statement after the White House announced the U.S. would remove tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico:
“NAHB commends President Trump for removing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico. This will provide momentum for Congress to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which holds the potential to lift the housing economy.
“Now that the White House has achieved substantial progress in advancing the USMCA, we urge the administration to focus its efforts on resolving the softwood lumber trade dispute with Canada. Tariffs averaging more than 20 percent on Canadian softwood lumber shipments into the U.S. are exacerbating price volatility and needlessly driving up housing costs. A prompt resolution to this ongoing trade conflict with our neighbor to the north will help to ease ongoing housing affordability concerns.”
This FRED graph shows three very different stories for three different types of goods production in the U.S. The clothing sector dominated the other two for about 60 of the 70 years shown in this sample, only to collapse in the first decade of the millennium and slowly decline thereafter. This shift is a direct consequence of cheaper manufacturing opportunities abroad. The automotive products sector has been steadily increasing its output, except for some hard times during the financial crisis, when car manufacturers were struggling. Occasionally, short dips occurred during strikes in the car industry. Finally, the electronics sector comes out of nowhere in the 1990s to establish itself as a core component of American industry.
How this graph was created: Search for the release table for the Industrial Production index by market and industry group, select the series shown here (or those you’d like to see), and click “Add to