The Indicator from Planet Money - A Beige Revolution - Shaking up the Beige Book

It's Beigies season! We honor the Federal Reserve Bank that added two new sections to their Beige Book entry: Worker experience and Minority- and Women- owned Business Enterprises.

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it is that time again that very special time. That only comes eight times a year the beige book. The beige book is a report published by the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States, each of the 12 fed banks around the country contribute a chapter and around here. We love the Facebook. It is an economic report but instead of numbers the beige book relies on stories anecdotes. So Economist at federal reserve banks all across the country the Dallas fed the San Francisco fed, the Boston fed, they start calling local businesses and companies and asking them what's up, how are things in your sector of the economy and each of those reports from each of those Banks becomes a chapter in the beige book and hear the indicator. We have a special place in our hearts for the days and when it comes out, we like to find a particular anecdote or a fact that one of the Federal Reserve Banks found that we think Rises.

the rest and present that bank with an award

welcome to the beige Awards brought to you by the indicator from Planet Money on your clothes today. Sarah went and I'm Stacey Vanek Smith and say Sarah. We have a very special be award a first right after the break we present the first-ever beija achievement award for a bank that went above and beyond and is helping to make an even better beige. Imagine it.

This message comes from NPR sponsor Intuit QuickBooks dedicated to helping small businesses. Be more successful for those working to achieve their own definition of success. QuickBooks. Smart. Sweet of business tools is designed to help them get their easy and intuitive Services all in one place available for both Mobile on desktop devices. Learn more at Come back to a very special edition of the base is your Wards. It's a seat the baiji. They are always such an exciting time. But this award this one in particular is extra special it really is. So to explain each entry of the beige book from each Federal Reserve Bank is broken down into different sections that examined different parts of the economy, like agriculture retail manufacturing these sections don't really change much but now One bank is doing something different. Yes, and this page award goes to the Federal Reserve Bank that added to brand new sections to their base book-entry sections that we believe will help contribute to our understanding of the economy.

for generations to come

and the baby goes to Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

Minneapolis fed they need to Big addition to their base book entry. And the first edition. This is so exciting of a section called worker experience wear condom is talk to individual workers hear what they're going through rather than just talking to businesses and the second is an addition of a section called minority and women-owned business Enterprise where they reach out to minority female business owners to ask them what their experiences have been to a man is an economist and Regional Outreach director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and I called him to tell him the good news about here at the indicator. We we have this award called The Bee Gees where we award our favorites entry in the beige book. It might shock you to learn this are at but sometimes people that we were too busy to have not actually heard of the award. That is so shocking. It's such an important award. I know it also creates a little bit of a

What situation where I have to explain what the Bee Gee is while simultaneously awarding it and you know, usually I can just own it. I just own the situation. But this time I did not own it. We wanted to like award a different kind. I don't know if I can do kind of busy. I guess order. Well, I guess the achieve like overall Achievement Award us you guys for adding this entry and kind of shaking up the Bass Book which is not something to get shaken up all that often. So we wanted to alert you guys. So are you telling me we're getting a special day. She really good emotions run in real high over here dramatic people that says that the data they've got in from these new sections has already given them a lot of new information for instance some of the information from the worker experience action. Actually help them solve this economic mystery that's been brewing for the last year. A lot of employers have been saying for months and months.

They cannot find workers they have open jobs and they can't fill them and it's a very same time there are millions and millions of unemployed workers who say they are desperate for a job. But Joe says when they started talking to actual workers the mystery started to clear up they heard from a lot of people who said that there were jobs. They just couldn't take even when they really wanted to take them. For example employers are are really Keen to fill 12-hour shifts. And these are much more difficult to fill if you have to manage childcare. We're hearing a lot about a transportation issues right now in particular the impact of Mass Transit customer service stories about childcare responsibilities how expensive childcare is and how hard it is to find and how to constrain particularly for women who chooses women and minority-owned businesses have been harder hit by the pandemic then businesses in general and we know that part of the reason for this is that women and minority-owned businesses tend to be concentrated in the service sector.

Hale and hospitality and those are just been especially hard head by the pentamic also those businesses tend to be smaller. So they're more vulnerable to economic changes but June is team also discovered that many of these businesses were also doing worse because they had not taken advantage of government Aid. We don't know as much about why but we heard some sort of compelling stories in one of those stories is that particularly among immigrant business owners. They've expressed concerns that applying for Aid might jeopardize their future citizenship status a lot of government funding made available during the pandemic was not supposed to affect immigration status. But Joe says some Visa holders were skeptical of that guarantee as the Minneapolis fed expects these new sections to reveal more information like this in the future and that could be helpful in guiding policy and supporting businesses and workers across the economy then some ways this has been on our minds for a really long time. It's been even more common.

Carmine's the last year the horror of George void staff in Minneapolis has made issues of race and representation seem even more urgent at it in the Minneapolis fed, but also within the Federal Reserve more broadly to make sure that we're building more inclusive economy and that we are being more representative and more inclusive and the economic data that we look at and the guys policy-making good job Minneapolis. We are excited to see what you discover in future bass bucks and also a shout out to all of the federal reserve banks that contribute to the beige book. You guys do great work until the next page. He's will be reading

This episode of the indicator was produced by Sam thigh and edited by Julie Myers. The indicator is a production of NPR.
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