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Education Resources

More Resources for Teaching Economics through the Lens of Current Events

EconSouthOur economy is constantly changing. With the business cycle comes the ebb and flow of aspects of the economy such as inflation, unemployment, and gross domestic product. Because of this constant fluctuating, economics textbooks can become obsolete soon after printing. Teachers can turn to newspaper articles and government websites—including those of the Bureau of Economic Analysis and Bureau of Labor Statistics—which are good sources of current events and updated information on the current economy. But the technical nature of the information in newspapers and on these websites is not always well suited for students and can leave them unengaged. Add to this the fact that the Common Core Standards place new emphasis on informational texts within subject areas—literacy in reading and understanding nonfiction texts is increasingly a key skill desired by today's employers.

But as we explained in a January 2012 Extra Credit article ("Ready-Made Current Events for the Economics Classroom"), the Atlanta Fed has a tool that offers plenty of easy-to-digest economic information: the print and online magazine EconSouth. Many teachers across the Southeast have found this magazine to be a useful tool in filling the gaps. They are using these articles, which are written in language aimed for the general public, in a variety of ways, including as platforms for classroom discussions, supplements to lessons, extra credit assignments, and writing assignments.

Published once a quarter, EconSouth features articles on national and world economies, with a particular focus on the economy of the Southeast. Each issue contains regular departments such as "Fed@Issue," a primer on key economic concepts;"Grassroots," which focuses on the economy of a particular region within the Atlanta Fed's district; regular full-length feature articles; and "Closing Numbers," a fascinating page full of numbers, statistics, and interesting factoids to share with your students.

Below are links to several EconSouth articles from 2012 and the first half of 2013. You'll also find links to discussion questions that relate to the stories with accompanying related links to articles, company websites, educational resources, and more.

Fed@Issue articles

First quarter 2012 Everything Must Change: Rethinking Workforce Development Workforce Development discussion questions and related links
Third quarter 2012 The Housing Market Is Improving…Or Is It? The Housing Market discussion questions and related links
Fourth quarter 2012 Understanding Labor Market Trends: Challenges and a Suggested Framework Understanding Labor Market Trends questions and related links
First quarter 2013 Weaving a Web for Watching Indicators Spider chart discussion questions and related links

Grassroots articles

First quarter 2012 Pensacola on the Hunt for Business Pensacola discussion questions and related links
Second quarter 2012 Biloxi-Gulfport Economy Keeps Coming Back Biloxi-Gulfport discussion questions and related links
Third quarter 2012 Atmore, Alabama: Rural Atmore Places Chips on Casino Atmore discussion questions and related links
First quarter 2013 The Space Coast Moves into a Lower Orbit Space Coast discussion questions and related links
Second quarter 2013 Cleveland Enjoys Manufacturing Resurgence Cleveland discussion questions and related links

Feature articles

First quarter 2012 Who Is the Most Unemployed? Factors Affecting Joblessness Factors Affecting Joblessness discussion questions and related links
Second quarter 2012 Truckonomics: An Industry on the Move Truckonomics discussion questions and related links
Third quarter 2012 Wanted: Jobs 2.0 in the Rural Southeast Jobs 2.0 discussion questions and related links
Part Chart, Part Science: The Evolution of Economic Indicators Part Chart, Part Science discussion questions and related links
Fourth quarter 2012 Cloudy with a Chance of Growth Cloudy with a Chance of Growth discussion questions and related links
First quarter 2013 Despite Turbulence, Southern Aerospace Poised for Take-off Southern Aerospace discussion questions and related links
Airports Soar Ahead Airports discussion questions and related links
Bordering on a Boom: Mexico Manufacturing Builds a Future Mexico Manufacturing discussion questions and related links
Second quarter 2013 Surveying the Economic Landscape Economic Landscape discussion questions and related links

By Amy Hennessy, director of economic education at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and Lesley Mace, economic and financial education specialist with the Jacksonville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

August 26, 2013