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Series:Regional Matters 

Discussion Paper
A Penny for Your Thoughts? How Survey Comments Help Us Understand Our Region’s Labor Market

We regularly report the quantitative results from the Richmond Fed business surveys, but participants' comments also provide useful context for changes in local business conditions. Most recently, a survey of human resources professionals complemented our surveys of area businesses. The comments from both surveys have provided insight into the region's labor market, as well as indicated that the persistent challenge of finding workers has led executives and recruiters to intensify their efforts and expand the tools they use to attract workers.
Regional Matters

Discussion Paper
Rural Spotlight: Creating a Reservoir of Housing Resources in New River Valley

Rural communities across the nation face workforce housing shortages. Here, we define “workforce housing” as housing affordable to households earning less than 120 percent of the area median income. While the reasons behind these shortages vary from one jurisdiction to another, the effects are the same: many residents face high housing costs.
Regional Matters

Discussion Paper
Unemployment Benefits Under the New Stimulus Package

Regional Matters

Discussion Paper
COVID-19 Financial Support: Who’s Covered and Who’s Not?

Federal, state, and local government financial support for consumers in response to COVID-19 is widespread, but not universal. Who’s left out from existing governmental support programs?
Regional Matters

Discussion Paper
Interpreting Unemployment Data in the Time of COVID-19

Since mid-March, a record number of people have become unemployed and filed for unemployment benefits. While both the unemployment rate and the number of unemployment insurance claims have fallen since the peak in April, the number of unemployment claims has been falling at a much slower rate. Policy changes and the unique nature of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to this deviation and may impact the way labor market health is evaluated going forward.
Regional Matters

Discussion Paper
How to Get the (High-Skilled) Workers?

Over the past year, the labor market has been extremely tight, with record high job openings and historically low unemployment. So, it's no surprise that firms have struggled to find workers. To overcome hiring challenges, firms have been using various strategies, the most common of which is wage increases. Those strategies may be paying off to some extent: Our Fifth District business surveys suggest that the worst of the challenge finding workers has passed. Nonetheless, firms are still reporting difficulties, and our most recent survey revealed a notable shift in the type of workers firms ...
Regional Matters

Discussion Paper
Unemployment Insurance Programs and the Role of the States

In recent weeks, unemployment insurance claims have hit record numbers. But what exactly do unemployment insurance programs cover? And what roles do states play?
Regional Matters

Discussion Paper
Fifth District Firms Report Cautious Optimism Going Into 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath have required constant shifts in how businesses operate. Not surprisingly, uncertainty has been a theme among many firms in the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's business outreach in the last few years. To better understand what firms are expecting for 2023, we asked them for their outlook and the strategies they might take to prepare for possible economic scenarios.
Regional Matters

Discussion Paper
Are Recession Fears Replacing Supply Chain Challenges? Evidence from Fifth District Business Surveys

The last year and a half have been fraught with persistent supply chain challenges, the highest rate of inflation since the 1980s, and record levels of job openings and quits. As such, it is not surprising that in the Richmond Fed's May monthly business surveys, the top three concerns across all Fifth District firms surveyed were inflation, supply chain disruptions, and availability of labor. This was corroborated by national data collected as part of the second quarter release of the Richmond Fed's CFO Survey.
Regional Matters

Discussion Paper
Introducing Rural Spotlights

Regional Matters

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