The Daily App: FRED For Android, iOS12:50 PM EST Thu. Dec. 06, 2012
Two weeks ago, we told you about America's Economy, a great app with a self-explanatory name. FRED, distributed by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, is even better, with more data and a broader scope. FRED gives Android and iOS (optimized for both iPhone and iPad) users free access to the titular Federal Reserve Economic Database. For those that like economic data, this app is an extravaganza, and FRED does a great job of parsing it.
With feeds to more than 60,000 streams of data from 48 different sources, FRED draws on government data from local, state and national governments, international data and private firms. On startup, the app loads a simple menu that belies the complexity and amount of data. Categories include GDP, unemployment, debt and other sectors of the economy and government, drillable into regions of the country and individual states. Making this wealth of data less intimidating is a Favorites section where users can pin exact data points that they find themselves returning to. Each data point also includes a brief explanation of the meaning of all of those numbers, charts and graphs.
It's not quite what you would call a pretty app, but it's functional, useful and nerdy in a Freakonomics kind of way. For the economically inclined, it's hard to find something more complete than the Federal Reserve's encyclopedic reams of data, and FRED makes it easy to find and reference.
PUBLISHED DEC. 6, 2012