Help and FAQs
FRED® is a database of over 83,000 economic time series from 56 sources. With FRED®, you can download data in Microsoft Excel and text formats and view charts of data series. We plan to continually improve FRED® and encourage you to be a part of the development process by sending feedback through our contact form. Learn more
If you have questions about the data in the FRED® database, the Research staff prefers that you send an email to stlsFRED@stls.frb.org. If your question necessitates a phone discussion, please call a Research staff member. Staff are available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. CST. There are three numbers available for you to call:
- (314) 444-8812
- (314) 444-8573
- (314) 444-4211
Staff will respond to all email and telephone inquiries within one business day.
All dates are represented as daily dates for consistency and ease of use. We chose a single date format that is widely supported by various spreadsheet applications (Excel, Lotus, etc.) and statistical software packages (SAS, Eviews, Stata, RATS, etc.). Many annual, quarterly, and monthly data series represent different times during the period (beginning of period, middle of period, etc.) so we chose to convert these frequencies to the first day of the period for consistency. Dates for weekly and daily data series are natively daily dates and are not converted. Dates are formatted as YYYY-MM-DD. As an example, April 25, 2002 is represented as 2002-04-25.
Examples of how dates are converted to daily dates:
- For annual data, "2004" is represented as the daily date "2004-01-01," the first day of the first month of 2004.
- For quarterly data, the second quarter of 2005 is represented as the daily date "2005-04-01," the first day of the first month of the second quarter of 2005 (the first day of the second quarter of 2005).
- For monthly data, July 2005 is represented as "2005-07-01," the first day of the seventh month of 2005.
If you use our services to assemble data for research papers or presentations, please acknowledge that use by providing the following information for your readers:
- name of the data service and the St. Louis Fed (e.g., "FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis...")
- the name(s), mnemonic(s), data service URLs, and original source(s) for the data series
- the date accessed.
- In the acknowledgments section for a paper or presentation:
"The authors used the FRED (Federal Reserve Economic Data) database from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to assemble the data used herein; see the data appendix and source notes for information on the specific series."
- As a source note for tables, charts, appendices, etc.:
"Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: Civilian Unemployment Rate [UNRATE] ; U.S. Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics; http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/UNRATE; accessed September 17, 2009."
Please note that some data available in FRED is owned by third parties and subject to copyright restrictions. Before using data owned by third parties for anything other than your own personal use, you must contact the data owner to obtain permission. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis cannot give you such permission, and making the data series available through FRED does not constitute such permission. Copyrighted series contain the word 'Copyright' in their notes. The list of copyrighted series can be found by either searching for the word 'copyright' on the FRED website or searching for the word 'copyright' using the fred/series/search api request.
Using ALFRED - ArchivaL Federal Reserve Economic Data - you can retrieve a data series as it existed on a specific date in history. Vintage data can be downloaded directly from the ALFRED website or by using 'My Data Lists.' Please see ALFRED Help for information about ALFRED and how to download data directly from the ALFRED website, and the How to Use 'My Data Lists' tutorial.
With a user account, you can store lists of economic data series. Data lists can be used to download series cross-tabulated by date or save links to series pages. See 'How to Use My Data Lists' for a step-by-step tutorial with screenshots.
Note that because FRED uses levels and rounded data as published by the source, calculations of percentage changes and/or growth rates in some series may not be identical to those in the original releases.The following formulas are used:
x(t) - x(t-1)
Change from Year Ago
x(t) - x(t-n_obs_per_yr)
((x(t)/x(t-1)) - 1) * 100
Percent Change from Year Ago
((x(t)/x(t-n_obs_per_yr)) - 1) * 100
Compounded Annual Rate of Change
(((x(t)/x(t-1)) ** (n_obs_per_yr)) - 1) * 100
Continuously Compounded Rate of Change
(ln(x(t)) - ln(x(t-1))) * 100
Continuously Compounded Annual Rate of Change
((ln(x(t)) - ln(x(t-1))) * 100) * n_obs_per_yr
'x(t)' is the value of series x at time period t.
'n_obs_per_yr' is the number of observations per year. The number of observations per year differs by frequency:
Daily, 260 (no values on weekends)
'ln' represents the natural logarithm.
'**' represents to the power of.
The values for a line in FRED Graph are calculated in the following order- first frequency aggregation is calculated (if any), second unit transformations are calculated (if any) (e.g. Percent Change), and third the formula to create your own transformation is applied (if changed from the default) (e.g. formula 'a - b' finds the difference between 2 data series).
The "Updated" date associated with each series is the most recent date that a series was updated in FRED®. This date does not necessarily correspond to the dates of observations.
Obtaining more information about particular series
For detailed definitions and methodology beyond that provided in the "Notes" with each series in FRED®, we recommend referring to the source of the data.
Inflation rate calculation
The inflation rate is typically calculated as the percent rate of change between two observations of the Consumer Price Index (typically from month to month or from the same month one year ago). Conventions used in our publications for calculating rates of change are available in the Tables of Contents of our Monetary Trends and our National Economic Trends publications.
Information on money stock measures, the monetary base and reserves, retail and deposit sweeps programs, and the monetary services index can be found in the Monetary Aggregates section of our website. Also included are historical data, references to further reading, and several datasets which are not included in the FRED® database.