Online versions of the Boston Fed's annual reports are available from 1989 onward.
|2012 Annual Report: Influencing Policy in the Public Interest
The 2012 annual report featured highlights in the Bank's innovation, partnership, and accessibility.
|2011 Annual Report: Stories of Connecting
The 2011 annual report featured three stories of connecting: An Empathy Initiative, Beyond Monetary Policy, and Cash During Catastrophe.
|2010 Annual Report: New England Transformed
The feature essay of the 2010 annual report discusses some of the changes that have occurred in New England over the past four decades, comparing the challenges we faced in the mid-1970s with those we face today.
|2009 Annual Report: Lessons from Resurgent Cities
In 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston began a project to help reinvigorate the city of Springfield, Massachusetts, New England’s fourth-largest city. While the Boston Fed project focuses on the city of Springfield, we hope to devise approaches that can be replicated in other struggling mid-sized cites around New England and the nation.
|2008 Annual Report: The Future of the Skilled Labor Force in New England: The Supply of Recent College Graduates
One of New England’s greatest assets is its skilled labor force, which has historically been an engine of economic growth in the region. But the skilled labor force of the future is growing more slowly in New England than in the rest of the United States.
|2007 Annual Report: Turmoil in the Mortgage Market
Until 2007, few Americans had probably heard the word “subprime” − including many homeowners who would come to learn that their own mortgage was a subprime mortgage. Today, subprime mortgages are much discussed because they lie at the center of the turmoil that roiled credit markets in 2007 and 2008.
|2006 Annual Report: Global Imbalances: As Giants Evolve
The world has been confronting unusually large current account imbalances for so long now that international policy makers have almost stopped warning that these represent a major risk to the world economic outlook. The essay featured in the 2006 annual report summarizes presentations and discussion at the 51st economic conference of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Global Imbalances − As Giants Evolve, which was held in June 2006.
|2005 Annual Report: U.S. Health Care Reform: Difficult Trade-Offs
Why has health care become a major challenge to the U.S. economy and to economic policymakers? The essay in the 2005 annual report summarizes the themes and consensus-based prescriptions for action that emerged from the Boston Fed's 50th economic conference, Wanting It All: The Challenge of Reforming the U.S. Health Care System, held in June 2005.
|2004 Annual Report: Living
Beyond Our Means
Individuals and families are very familiar with what “living beyond our means” can involve. It can be fun for a short while, but a family that consistently spends more than it earns will deplete its savings and build up increasing amounts of debt. And families cannot live beyond their means forever – at some point, lenders will start charging increasingly higher interest rates on the family’s borrowing and eventually stop making new loans altogether. At that point, family members will find they cannot spend what they earn on things they need – interest charges and eventual repayment of the principal will cut into their spending, leading to a reduced standard of living.
Annual Report: Embracing Change
Over its entire history, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston has faced changes in the economy, in the financial services industry, and in its responsibilities. At times, we’ve reacted to change; at times, the Bank has served as a catalyst, as our staff have explored new ways to accomplish the tasks facing us. The Bank’s mission has remained the same over the years—to support sound economic growth and financial stability in New England and the nation. But the ways in which we fulfill our mission and meet our changing responsibilities have evolved. Philosophers tell us that change is the only constant, but its pace is hardly constant. At present, it seems to be accelerating.
Education Reform in New England
When the term “knowledge- based economy” first entered popular discussion — sometime around the early 1980s — the focus was exclusively on scientific, technological, and business leadership. Only gradually did our society come to appreciate the pervasiveness of the knowledge-based economy. It affects not just the demand for high-level technical and entrepreneurial talent but, indeed, the job requirements for virtually all types of work. This growing realization has laid the foundation for broad - scale reforms of education in the United States and many other nations.
Building Communities ... Making a Difference
One of the most vexing economic problems facing the United States has been the persistence of pockets of poverty in the midst of prosperity. The reasons for this are many and complex. Prominent among them are economic isolation in the case of rural areas, and language and cultural barriers in the case of many inner-city communities. Discrimination has played a role, but so too has simple ignorance. Resources and opportunities exist in these communities, but getting the recognition from market sources necessary to leverage these assets is difficult. For whatever reason, human and physical resources in these neighborhoods may not be fully utilized. Perhaps even worse, exclusion from the economic mainstream perpetuates and reinforces itself. Lacking jobs, capital, and examples of success, many of these communities have remained mired in poverty.
The U.S. Retail Payments
System...Dawn of a New Era
Many people are unaware that there is something called a “payments system”. They only know that they can go anywhere in the United States or the world, pay for an item with something other than cash, have that payment accepted, and have the amount deducted from their account or added to their credit balance with ease. The payments system that makes this complicated process seem easy is a network of institutions, law, and technology that combine to enable consumers and businesses to exchange monetary value. Payments range from the small and simple — fifty cents at a newsstand for the morning paper — to the large and complex — a bank transfers $500 million electronically to multiple banks in the U.S. and overseas.
Productivity Growth & The New
By almost any measure these have been good economic times. In 1999, U.S. economic growth averaged more than 4 percent for the third consecutive year. The unemployment rate fell to a 30-year low. Inflation averaged just over 2 percent. And real incomes increased. Even those at the bottom of the income distribution seem to be making gains, after years of stagnation. For some time, it doesn't get much better than this has been on everyone's lips. Is this rosy picture just an unusually long upswing in the business cycle? Or is a New Economy truly emerging?
|1998 Annual Report:
Fruits of Growth
Over the past several years, the United States has enjoyed the most favorable macroeconomic conditions in more than three decades—to some, the definition of as good as it gets. Unemployment has been low, growth has been above expectations of what the U.S. economy could sustain over such a long period, and inflation has declined to a very low rate of growth. But one feature of today’s economy stands in marked contrast with the earlier years. In the 1960s, the incomes of all those involved in the economy were much more narrowly spread than is the case today. Whether one examines the wages and salaries of workers or the total incomes of families and households, income inequality, that is, the difference in income between those at the upper and lower ends of the income distribution, has increased markedly. To some, perhaps, the definition of an economic problem.
|1997 Annual Report:
Safeguarding Financial Markets
The world of financial services has changed rapid, in the past decade. The recent pace of innovation suggests that change could, if anything, accelerate in the coming years. Such an environment poses difficult challenges for financial industry supervisors, especially in addressing threats to the overall stability of the financial system. Financial supervision in the United States has evolved in recent years to keep pace, but the coming, new environment may require an approach to supervision that more explicitly monitors the health of the financial system as a whole.
|1996 Annual Report:
Mapping the Way for Growth
New England is a region that specializes in new technologies, a region with limited natural resources, and trade is essential to its future well-being. However, like technological change, increased trade can hurt some individuals, particularly the low-skilled, and their communities, at least in the short run. Understandably, fear of increased foreign competition spurs resistance to more open trade policies, like the creation and broadening of the NAFTA, even though, over the long run, such developments hold the promise of increasing incomes in New England, in the United States, and in our trading partners.
|1995 Annual Report:
Making an Impact on New England
The favorable economic progress made in the United States in 1995 can only be viewed as positive for us domestically and for the world as a whole. As I look around the world certainly there are pockets of problems - some of them severe - but in general, the macroeconomic data are reasonable. These include decent rates of real growth, dear progress against inflation, and the recognition of and commitment to solve the twin problems of domestic budget and foreign trade deficits. All of these areas of progress augur well and reflect, to greater or lesser degrees, not just a cyclical upturn but, even more importantly, sustained patterns of solid economic performance amid a series of worldwide trends.
|1994 Annual Report:
The Architecture for Stability
The year 1994 saw a resurgence of New England’s traditions of innovation and ingenuity. With the economy on a solid growth path, the foundations of a rejuvenated region have been laid. At the Boston Fed, we too were able to focus our energies on building for the future. In this report, you will see that over the past; a combination of economic, financial, technological, and legislative developments was shaping New England’s future while having a profound impact on how we do our jobs at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
|1993 Annual Report: Retrospective on Five Years with the Boston Fed
This annual report focuses on the five years during which Richard F. Syron was president of the Boston Fed and on three issues in which Boston’s experience illustrates the important role played by regional Reserve Banks: monetary policy, banking regulation, and fair lending.
|1992 Annual Report:
The Outlook for New England Banking
Resilience has historically characterized the New England region, and the past year has exemplified that long-standing quality. Coming out of the worst regional recession since the Great Depression has been slow and painful, and the lives of many of our neighbors have been disrupted along the way. Fortunately, by the end of 1992 there were signs that the economic decline in New England was nearing the bottom.
|1991 Annual Report:
The Procyclical Application of Bank Capital Requirements
Capital requirements have long been considered important to bank safety and the protection of the federal deposit insurance fund. But widespread banking problems and heavy losses to the deposit insurance fund have intense the focus on capital. Supervisory agencies have become even more rigorous in applying and enforcing capital standards, imposing higher requirements on damaged banks. Furthermore, capital requirements have taken on greater significance as a result of a key provision of the recently enacted banking legislation, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991, which links various supervisory actions to deteriorating capital ratios in troubled institutions.
|1990 Annual Report
1990 was an exceptionally difficult year, as regional economic problems were exacerbated by a national recession. The change came with startling swiftness; only two years ago New England’s prosperity was the envy of the country. Yet 1990 saw widespread layoffs, rising unemployment rates, bankruptcies and foreclosures, and ballooning state government deficits; no sector escaped the recession’s touch.
|1989 Annual Report: One View of What the Future Holds for New England
After a decade of truly remarkable growth, the New England economy has weakened. Employment fell in 1989 and the unemployment rate increased. Further weakening seems to have occurred in the early months of 1990. New England continues to compare favorably with the nation according to such common indicators as the unemployment rate and per capita income, but recent developments suggest that the region is returning to a more normal relationship with the rest of the country. This transition is proving to be quite painful for some sectors of the economy, resulting in a high degree of confusion and anxiety regarding the region’s overall economic health.