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January 18, 2008 - Economic Outlook

The sub-zero temperatures this weekend will keep most people indoors. Need some reading material to wile away the hours? Several reports have come out recently regarding the current economic forecast for the United States.

The Federal Reserve has issued its Beige Book for January. The full title is Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions and it compiles reports for each Federal Reserve District on "current economic conditions in its District through reports from Bank and Branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources. The Beige Book summarizes this information by District and sector. An overall summary of the twelve district reports is prepared by a designated Federal Reserve Bank on a rotating basis." This website contains summaries back to 1970. If interested in the report from the Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, click here to jump to that section.

In Addition, the U.S. Department of Labor has released the December 2007 Consumer Price Index (CPI) numbers. The Consumer Price Index is used as an economic indicator, especially in relation to inflation, and provides "monthly data on changes in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services". More information about the CPI can be found at http://www.bls.gov/cpi/.