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Your new favorite secret weapon: FRED(Federal Reserve Economic Database)

This data was originally featured in the January 27, 2021 newsletter found here:…stomer-retention/

In this week’s Rear View Mirror, we want to share one of our secret weapons in data: FRED. FRED stands for the Federal Reserve Economic Database, a massive, easy-to-use data system published by the United States Federal Reserve Bank. FRED contains over 750,000 data series and all of the data is free-to-use, paid for by taxpayers.

Nearly every industry, every sector in the United States has high-quality data available to it for analysis. If there’s third-party data you need to augment market research in the United States, FRED probably has it – and for free.

Data is available in all the major formats you’d expect – CSV files for spreadsheet software, XML files for ad hoc importation, and an API for programmatic ingestion of data into your own software.

Let’s take a look at one example. This is a FRED data series from the Federal Reserve Bank itself, M2 – the amount of money that exists in the United States.

Money Supply

You can see this has all the standard controls of any basic analytical interface, the ability to change the period of time analyzed, key periods of time noted, etc. You also have the ability to compare and contrast multiple data series together.

Above, we see that after the start of the pandemic, the United States government started printing money like crazy. Because all modern money is largely fictional (meaning it’s not pegged to a physical asset like gold), governments can create money at will, with the side effect of creating inflation. We see above that the government materialized 4 trillion new dollars out of thin air in 2020.

As a marketer, our thoughts turn to what the second half of 2021 will look like, once the pandemic abates. Many virologists and epidemiologists believe that it will be largely over by July, with mass vaccinations and faster-spreading strains. What does that have to do with M2?

That means there’s an extra 4 trillion dollars just floating around in the economic system. As banks, companies, and individuals start to use this supply of money – assuming the government doesn’t vaporize it (which it can) – there will be much more marketing opportunity for everything in the second half of the year. Think of it like a post-war economic boom. By looking at this data, we see conditions for a stunningly-good economic recovery in the next year or two – so be ready. Make sure you have a scenario plan where suddenly budgets unfreeze all at once, and consumers – eager to get out of their homes – swamp the marketplace, ready to buy just about anything.

That’s the power of what FRED can offer your business and marketing – incredibly relevant, vetted, trustworthy data you can use to make decisions. Get started today!

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