What is FRED? Short for Federal Reserve Economic Data, FRED is an online database consisting of more than 55,000 economic data time series from 45 national, international, public, and private sources.
FRED, created in 1990 and maintained by Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, combines data with a tools that help us understand and display economic data.
The categories that can be searched include: Money, Banking & Finance; Population, Employment & Labor Markets; Production & Business Activity; Price Indexes; International and Regional Data.
The FCC produced its annual Mobile Wireless Competition Report last year, graphing various statistics regarding mobile wireless service providers and national usage. Among the mass amounts of data collected, this analysis produces measurement of price level and usage trends, types of mobile devices, operating systems, and applications purchased and used by consumers.
The U.S. Department of Energy has a site for fuel economy information which many drivers may find helpful in saving money, finding the right car, and checking EPA ratings. Please take a look at www.fueleconomy.gov.
Because of budgetary constraints, in 2011 the Social Security Administration (SSA) stopped sending estimated Social Security benefit statements on paper. For a number of years these statements had been sent to all workers age 25 and older and not currently receiving Social Security benefits. In addition to listing a worker’s lifetime earnings record (the basis for Social Security benefits), the statements contained estimated benefits for retirement, disability, and surviving family members.
This month (May, 2012), the SSA unveiled a program to provide the same information electronically, on the SSA website. Any individual who wishes to sign up must be at least age 18 and have a valid Social Security number, e-mail address, and United States mailing address. Create an account at https://secure.ssa.gov/RIL/SiView.do
The new electronic version of the benefit estimate statement provides the same information as the paper statement, a worker’s lifetime earnings record and estimated benefits for retirement, disability, and surviving family members. At the same time, the government has resumed mailing paper estimated benefit statements to workers age 60 and older who are not currently receiving Social Security benefits.
The Illinois Department of Insurance site provides information on the Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP). SHIP is a free statewide health insurance counseling service for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers. A Medicare Supplement Premium Comparison Guide is available, as is Medicaid Related and Long Term Care Information.