Retail Trade by Federal Reserve District, 1919 to 1939: A Statistical History

Research in Economic History

ISBN: 978-1-78052-246-3, eISBN: 978-1-78052-247-0

ISSN: 0363-3268

Publication date: 25 January 2012


Soon after beginning operations, the Federal Reserve established a nationwide network for collecting information about the economy. In 1919, the Fed began tabulating data by about retail sales, which it viewed as a fundamental measure of consumption. From 1920 until 1929, the Federal Reserve published data about retail sales each month by Federal Reserve district, but ceased to do so after 1929. It continued to compile monthly data on retail sales by reserve district, but this data remained in house. We collected these in-house reports from the archives of the Board of Governors and constructed a consistent series on retail trade at the district level. The new series enhances our understanding of economic trends during the Roaring ‘20s and Great Depression.


Park, H. and Richardson, G. (2012), "Retail Trade by Federal Reserve District, 1919 to 1939: A Statistical History", Hanes, C. and Wolcott, S. (Ed.) Research in Economic History (Research in Economic History, Vol. 28), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 151-231.

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