timeline:

FRED® and Friends at the St. Louis Fed

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has been a pioneer in the distribution of economic information to the public, from the earliest mimeographed and hand-mailed data reports in 1961, to today's FRED and family suite of information sites. This commitment to universal data access and data literacy is built on the premise that a better-informed public helps maintain the stability of the financial system and the economy as a whole.


To see the broader history of the work of the St. Louis Fed, browse our Centennial Timeline.

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  • April 1991 | FRED® is Launched as a Dial-Up Bulletin Board Featuring Economic Data

    The Research Department at the St. Louis Fed launched Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED®), its free information service. In its earliest years, FRED was an electronic bulletin board of economic data that users could access via modems connected to personal computers.

    FRED® Brochure
    Introducing FRED…
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  • 1995 | FRED Launches on the World Wide Web

    FRED moves online with 865 data series. It's accessed about 6,000 times a week in its first year. The FRED® data files are grouped into 12 categories. All files, except those that are compressed, are in ASCII format. Compressed files are in .zip or self-extracting .exe formats. The compressed files contain all of the ASCII files within that category of data.

    FRED® Goes Online
    FRB St. Louis' FRED Database
    FRED Portal in 1996
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  • c.1999 | FRED Enhanced Online and Offline

    FRED (sporting a new green web design) offers data macros for Microsoft Excel® and Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet software.

    FRED® circa 1999
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  • 2002 | FRED2 Launches

    The 2002 St Louis Fed annual report announces 8 million hits to the "new, enhanced version of FRED." Early versions allowed users to download all data in the database in a handful of compressed files. "FRED II" (aka "FRED2") ran concurrently with "FRED" until July 2003.

    FRED Reaches 8 Million Hits
    FRED II®
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  • 2004 | FRED Users Can Download the Graphed Data in New Formats

    For the first time, FRED offers data downloads in Microsoft Excel® and text file formats.

    FRED Offers Data Downloads in Microsoft Excel® and Text File Formats
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  • February 2004 | User Data Lists Debut

    FRED adds data list functionality to user accounts. Users can store lists of series, download series cross-tabulated by date, or save series pages. In November 2006, the data list feature was improved: lists could now include up to 1000 series and dates could now be added using one form.

    FRED Introduces the New Feature 'My Data Lists'
    How to Use 'My Data Lists'
    Improved Data Lists
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  • July 1, 2004 | FRASER Debuts

    Digital library FRASER (then known formally as the Federal Reserve Archival System for Economic Research) launches as a home for the static data releases underpinning much of FRED's data.

    Digital Library FRASER Launches
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  • 2005 | ALFRED® Goes Live

    ALFRED (ArchivaL Federal Reserve Economic Data), the storehouse of data underneath FRED, goes live. ALFRED offers snapshots of data series at many points in the past, showing users what data looked like before later revisions.

    ALFRED® Goes Live
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  • 2007 | GeoFRED® Launches

    The new mapping service GeoFRED allows users to create, customize, and share geographical maps of FRED data.

    GeoFRED® 2007: Unemployment Rate by County (Fractile)
    GeoFRED® 2007: Unemployment Rate by County (Equal)
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  • March 2008 | Public Data Lists Debut

    Data lists go live, allowing users to post curated collections of data from across FRED. The first public data list, posted March 2008, pulls together various U.S. currency exchange rate series.

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  • 2008 | FRED Receives Over 50 Million Hits

    The combined data services of FRED, ALFRED®, GeoFRED®, FRASER®, and CASSIDI® receive over 80 million hits. FRED alone has dedicated users in over 200 countries. These data tools are used in classrooms by students and teachers, cited by reporters, studied by researchers, referenced by librarians, and relied on by business analysts.

    FRED®
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  • March 2009 | The FRED API is Released

    The new FRED API (application programming interface) gives FRED using software developers access to the database functionality, allowing power users to bring FRED data into their own applications.

    FRED® API
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  • November 2010 | FRED Graphing Capabilities Enhanced

    Frequency aggregation is developed, allowing users the ability to aggregate data from a higher frequency to a lower frequency (e.g., from monthly data to annual data). FRED users also gain the ability to combine series and use scatter charts and pie charts.

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  • December 2010 | FRED Reaches 25,000 Series

    FRED hits its 25,000 series milestone in late 2010, following the addition of more than 20,000 regional data series over the preceding year. That month, FRED also introduced the "International Data" category with more than 500 international labor series from the BLS, and just a few weeks later, the first collection of many Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) datasets was added to FRED.

    FRED Reaches 25,000 Series
    Regional Data
    New International Data Category in FRED
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  • September 2011 | FRED Goes Mobile

    The first FRED iPhone app is released, bringing 34,000 series to your pocket. An Android app follows a few months later, in January of 2012.

    FRED iPhone/iPad App Now Available
    The FRED App - Now Available for iOS and Android Devices
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  • November 2011 | Data Add-in for Microsoft Excel® Becomes Available

    With the add-in, users are able to download the more than 40,000 economic data series in FRED directly into Excel. They can select data by the specific data series ID or from a list of FRED's most popular datasets.

    FRED Add-in for Microsoft Excel®
    FRED Add-in for Microsoft Excel®
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  • August 8, 2012 | FRED Reaches 50,000 Series

    With the addition of harmonized EPI from Eurostat, FRED contains over 50,000 data series for the first time.

    FRED Reaches 50,000 Series
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  • July 25, 2013 | FRED Reaches 100,000 Series

    FRED reaches (and surpasses) a cool 100,000 series with the addition of 58,000 Main Economic Indicators (MEI) series from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) dataset.

    FRED Reaches 100,000 Series
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  • March 17, 2014 | User Dashboards Added

    With the relaunch of user accounts, registered FRED users can now build a personal dashboard to track favorite series and graphs.

    New on FRED: User Dashboards!
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  • March 24, 2014 | FRED Blog Debuts

    The new FRED Blog debuts at fredblog.stlouisfed.org. The first post looks at U.S. currency in circulation.

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  • May-June 2016 | FRED Gets a Makeover and a New Address

    Previews launch May 2016 and FRED moves to fred.stlouisfed.org in June. FRED also celebrates its 25th birthday this year.

    FRED Gets a Makeover
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  • December 19, 2016 | FRED Interactives in Econlowdown Go Live

    A new tool for economic education, FRED Interactives launch as self-paced and auto-graded online modules where users complete graph-building and graph-reading questions using live data from FRED.

    FRED Interactives <i>Build-It</i>
    FRED Interactives <i>Read-It</i>
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  • September 2017 | FRED Reaches 500,000 Series

    FRED adds 38 new series from the Bank of International Settlements, bringing the total available series to more than half a million.

    FRED Reaches 500,000 Series
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  • January 2017 | FREDcast® Launched

    The interactive forecasting game FREDcast® is released for use with FRED user accounts. Players forecast the value of four economic statistics: economic growth, price inflation, unemployment, and employment. Points are awarded for accuracy and players can compete in leagues with friends, coworkers, or classmates.

    FREDcast
    FREDcast Public League Leaderboard
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  • April 2018 | FRED Partners with Census

    FRED partners with the U.S. Census Bureau to provide users access to U.S. Census Bureau data through the FRED mobile app, allowing Census to retire its own mobile data apps.

    FRED 2018
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  • 2018 | FRED Stars in the St. Louis Fed Annual Report

    "Go Figure with FRED®" is the theme of the Bank's annual report. The issue features interviews with FRED staff, facts and figures on FRED's development, and testimonials from FRED users.

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  • April 2021 | Happy Birthday! FRED Turns 30 and ALFRED Turns 15

    FRED and ALFRED both commemorate milestone birthdays with a visual redesign of FRED, new special anniversary logos, and even a limited-time online shop for FRED fans to buy FRED-branded gifts. By its 30th birthday on April 18, FRED contains over 788,000 US and international time series from 103 sources.

    FRED Turns 30
    ALFRED Turns 15
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FRED® and Friends at the St. Louis Fed. https://fraser.stlouisfed.org/timeline/st-louis-fed-data, accessed on June 20, 2021.


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102