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B usiness Conditions
R eserve
district

S even th
FEDERAL
M O N T H L Y R E V IE W P U B L IS H E D BY T H E
F E D E R A L R E S E R V E B A N K OF C H IC A G O

Volume 11, No. 7

q«o
J U ly

A>

NATIONAL SUMMARY OF BUSINESS CONDITIONS
N D U S T R IA L production continued during May in
about the same volume as in the three preceding months.
Wholesale and retail trade increased in May, and the gen­
eral level of commodity prices showed a further advance.
Security loans of member banks, which were in record
volume in May, declined considerably during the first three
weeks in June. Conditions in the money market remained
firm.

I

PRODUCTION— Production of manufactures was slight-*
ly smaller in May than in April, when allowance is made
for usual seasonal variations, while the output of minerals
increased somewhat. Production of steel declined in May
from the high level attained in April, but was in about
the same volume as a year ago. Since the first of June
buying of steel products has been light, and there have
been further decreases in production. Daily average pro­
duction of automobiles was in about the same volume in
May as in April, and preliminary reports for the first three
weeks in June indicate that factory operations were main­
tained at practically the same level. Activity of textile
mills was somewhat larger in May, and there were also
increases in the slaughter of live stock and in the produc­
tion

of

building

materials,

IN D U S T R IA L

non ferrous

metals,

and

coal,

TRADE— Distribution of merchandise, both at wholesale
and at retail, was in larger volume in May than in April.
Making allowances for customary seasonal influences,
sales in all lines of wholesale trade showed increases,
although in most lines they continued in smaller volume
than a year ago. Department store sales were larger than
in April, and at about the same level as a year ago,
while sales of chain stores and mail order houses showed
increases both over last month and over last year.
The volume o f freight carloadings increased further
during May, but continued smaller than during the corre­
sponding month of either of the two previous years. Load­
ings of miscellaneous commodities, however, which repreB U IL D IN G

P R O D U C T IO N

Index number of production of manufactures and minerals
combined, adjusted for seasonal variations (1923-1925 average
= 100). Latest figure, May, 1928: 109.




whije the production of petroleum declined. The value of
building contracts awarded during May, as reported by
the F. W . Dodge Corporation for thirty-seven states east
of the Rocky Mountains, was larger than in any previous
month, and awards during the first half of June exceeded
those for the corresponding period of last year. Indicated
production of winter wheat, as reported by the Department
of Agriculture on the basis of June 1 condition, amounted
to 512,000,000 bushels, 40,000,000 bushels less than the har­
vested production of 1927.

CONTRACTS AW AR D ED

The Federal Reserve Board’s indexes of value of building
contracts awarded, as reported by F. W . Dodge Corporation
(1923-1925 average = 100). Latest figures, May 1928: Adjusted
Index, 152; Unadjusted Index, 163.

Compiled June 26, 1928

sent largely manufactured products, were larger in May
of this year than in that month of any previous year.
PRICES—The general level of wholesale commodity
prices, as indicated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics index,
increased in May by over one per cent to 98.6 per cent of
the 1926 average, the highest figure recorded for any
month since October, 1926. There were increases in most
of the principal groups of commodities, but the largest
advances in May as in April occurred in farm products
and foods. Contrary to the general trend, prices of pig
iron, hides, raw silk, fertilizer materials, and rubber
showed declines during the month. Since the middle of
May there have been decreases in prices of grains, hogs,
sheep, pig iron and hides, while prices of raw wool, nonferrous metals, lumber, and rubber have advanced.
BANK CREDIT— Loans and investments of member
banks in leading cities on June 20 showed a decline from
the high point which was reached on May 16. Loans on
W HOLESALE

P R IC E S

Index of the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (1926 = 100,
base adopted by the Bureau). Latest figures, May, 1928: Farm
Products, 109.8; Non-agricultural Commodities, 95.6.

securities, which had increased by more than $l,FoO,000,000
since May, 19'27, declined $200,000,000, while all other loans,
including loans for commercial and agricultural purposes,
increased somewhat. There was a small increase in total
investments.
During the four weeks ending June 20, there were with­
drawals of nearly $75,000,000 from the country’s stock of
gold, and the volume of reserve bank credit outstanding
increased somewhat, notwithstanding a decline in member
bank reserve requirements. Member bank borrowing at
the reserve banks continued to increase, and early in June
exceeded $1,000,000,000 for the first time in more than six
years. Acceptance holdings of the reserve banks declined
considerably, while there was little change in their hold­
ings of United States securities.
After the middle of May firmer conditions in the money
market were reflected in advances in open market rates
to the highest levels since the early part of 1924.
RESERVE

BANK

C R E D IT

Monthly averages of daily figures for twelve Federal Reserve
banks. Latest figures, averages for first 22 days in June, 1928:
Total Reserve Bank Credit, 1,497 million; Discounts for Member
Banks, 1,009 million; U. S. Securities, 236 million; and Accep­
tances, 250 million.

BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN THE SEVENTH RESERVE DISTRICT
Industrial, agricultural, and merchandising conditions in
the Seventh district, with a few exceptions, have displayed
improvement in the past few weeks over the situation pre­
vailing last year at this time and a month previous. In
manufacturing lines, automobile production, shipments
from casting foundries and of stoves, and sales of agricul­
tural machinery increased in May over April and over last
year. Production in the last named industry declined in
the monthly comparison but was larger than a year ago,
and steel mill operations were also slightly reduced, though
the recession has been more gradual than usual. In the
shoe industry, production expanded in May over April, and
was smaller than in May, 1927. The furniture industry
continues to show less activity than a year ago, though
orders booked in May increased considerably over April.
With the exception of winter wheat, the agricultural out­
look for 1928 is better than in 1927. Farm work is ahead
of last year. The stand of corn is fairly even; oats im­
proved further during May; prospects for small fruit are
good and for tree fruit fair to good; and the condition of
garden truck is better than a year ago. Warmer weather
would be beneficial, however, in a number of sections.
Larger quantities of grain were handled during May at
interior primary markets than in the preceding month or
Page 2




a year ago. Production at slaughtering establishments was
above April but under last May, while sales at meat pack­
ing plants increased in the former comparison and showed
little change in the latter. Butter production and sales
gained over April, though less than in May, 1927. Output
from flour mills was larger than in the preceding month or
a year ago.
In distribution phases, both wholesale and retail trade
statistics for May recorded gains over a month previous and
May last year, department stores, the retail shoe trade,
chain stores, and most wholesale lines showing larger sales
in both comparisons. Sales of automobiles at retail and
wholesale expanded over April, and retail sales were above
a year ago, but wholesale distribution declined.
Contracts awarded in the Seventh district established a
record for May, and were above April, and permits issued
likewise gained in these comparisons. Lumber sold at
retail yards was in greater volume than a month or a year
previous, and brick and cement shipments exceeded those
in April.
Added firmness is noted in the Chicago money market,
and rates have risen; commercial borrowings at banks, as
well as loans on collateral, have shown an expanding tend­
ency in recent weeks. The volume of payment by check

for the district gained over April and last May, and savings
deposits likewise were larger in both comparisons. Bond
prices have declined, and demand is slower.

CREDIT CONDITIONS AND MONEY RATES
Interest rates in Chicago have moved upward during the
past month; the volume of loans for commercial purposes,
as well as collateral loans, has increased, with a rise of one
per cent in rates on the latter, which are now quoted at
5^2 to 6 per cent compared with 5 per cent a month ago.
Commercial paper rates have risen approximately onefourth of one per cent during the month, 4
to 5 being
quoted at present as against 4L> to 4% last month, while
customers’ over-the-counter loans carry 5 to 6 per cent
compared with 4J4 to 5J4 the middle of May. This firming
tendency was especially marked during the week preceding
June 15. The average rate earned on loans and discounts
by ten of the large loop banks during the calendar month
of May was 5.07 per cent, as against 4.93 in April, 4.84 in
March, and 4.90 per cent in May, 1927. Firmer rates are
reported in Detroit, where the average rate earned by five
large banks in May rose to 5.44, whereas in April this item
had stood at 5.38 per cent. The prevailing rate on commer­
cial loans for the week ended June 15 was 4^4 to 6 per
cent. Active demand for funds is reported from a number
of other cities in the district, in some cases exceeding the
preceding month, for commercial purposes as well as on
collateral, while other centers indicate little if any change
from a month previous. Some country banks in agricul­
tural sections are reported as borrowing in greater volume
than a year ago in order to finance purchases of feed, re­
sulting from inferior crops last year.
The volume of reserve bank credit in use in the district
increased, and money conditions were firmer; total bills and
securities of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago on June
13 stood at $200,145,000, the largest aggregate since the open­
ing weeks of the year. On June 20 the item was reported
as $185,566,000.
Loans to member banks on June 13
amounted to $140,003,000 as compared with $112,779,000
May 16, and marked the highest point since January 18,
1922, when $144,904,000 was reported. On June 20 loans
to member banks amounted to $127,932,000, which figure
represents a gain of approximately 64 million since January
4, the first reporting date in 1928. Federal Reserve notes
are at a higher level than a month ago, on June 20 amount­
ing to $256,455,000; on May 23 a total of $247,311,000 was
reported, and on the corresponding reporting date a year
ago Federal Reserve notes in circulation were given as
$225,774,000.
P O S IT IO N OF T H E F E D E R A L R E S E R V E B A N K O F C H IC A G O




Loans and discounts of reporting member banks in the
Seventh district reached a high point of $2,430,169,000
on June 13, this aggregate comparing with $2,384,881,000
May 16 and $2,258,793,000 June 15, 1927. Increases in all
classes of loans in Chicago and Detroit are responsible for
the gains in recent weeks; commercial loans in other
selected cities are slightly below the level shown May 16.
On June 20 the aggregate dropped to $2,400,079,000. In­
vestment holdings of reporting members showed a lessened
volume as compared with May 23, a total of $905,270,000
on June 20 against $927,190,000 on the first named date.
On June 22 a year ago the item stood at $844,167,000. Net
demand deposits of $1,910,581,000 on June 13 represented
the largest volume since the early months of the year and a
rise of over 30 million from the total given June 15, 1927.
On June 20 this year, $1,844,746,000 was reported, as against
$1,866,782,000 May 23. Current data on time deposits of
reporting members reflect a rising volume until June 20
when an aggregate of $1,306,188,000 was shown, compared
with $1,312,132,000 the previous week, $1,286,517,000 on
May 23, and $1,161,179,000 June 22 a year ago.
Sales of commercial paper in the Middle West receded to
a lower level in May than during any month in a number
of years, being 11.1 per cent less than in April and 9.3 per
cent below the corresponding period of 1927, according to
a compilation for eleven dealers. Supply and demand were
generally conceded as limited to fair; a few firms found
them moderately good. Selling rates showed a further ad­
vance during the month and were quoted as 4
to 4J4 for
low and 4J4 to 5 for high, with the customary figure 4J4 to
4% per cent. For the first half of June, quotations ranged
from 4 y2 and 4J^ for low to 5 and 5% for high, most paper
moving at 4J^ to 5 per cent. Outstandings on May 31, as
reported to this bank by five dealers, declined 6.7 per cent
from the close of April and were 6.8 per cent smaller than
a year ago; holdings of twenty-five dealers in the United
States amounted to $540,000,000.
The transactions of six dealers in the Chicago open bill
market from May 17 to June 13 decreased 17.6 per cent in
amount of purchases and 46.5 per cent in volume of sales
compared with those in the period from April 19 to May 16,
and showed respective declines of 25.7 and 57.3 per cent
from a year ago. Receipts from other offices were 38.2
per cent smaller than in the preceding period and 54.3 per
cent below last year; forwardings gained in both compar­
isons. The supply of paper averaged between limited and
fair; some dealers found it good at times. Demand was
indicated as poor to fair. Preferences continued to center
on 90-day maturities. Bills were drawn principally against
raw silk, packing-house products, cotton, grain, crude rub­
ber, coffee, canned goods, marble, machinery, lead, wool,
tobacco, coal, pecans, and copper wire. Offered rates firmed
slightly during the first half of the period and closed on
June 13 at 4 per cent for 30-day bills to 4J4 per cent for
those of 180 days. Holdings totaled 33.2 per cent greater
than on May 16 and were 19.7 per cent smaller than a year
ago.
Transactions in bankers’ acceptances during May at six­
teen banks of the Seventh district exceeded those of the
preceding month by 15.2 per cent in amount of paper
accepted, 19.6 per cent in quantity of bills bought, and 16.5
per cent in volume sold; gains of 51.5, 31.5, and 29.4 per
cent, respectively, were recorded over a year ago. Individ­
ually, however, half the banks reported smaller sales and
purchases than in the corresponding month of 1927. A c­
ceptances at three local banks for the first half of June
totaled somewhat ahead of the first two weeks of May and
were drawn principally against packing-house products,
Page 3

coffee, cotton, oil, grain, crude rubber, steel, tobacco, raw
silk, egg albumen, pig iron, nuts, tea, embroidery, rattan,
hides, general merchandise, shoes, dates, and feathers.
Liability for outstanding acceptances increased 3.9 per cent
on May 31 over the close of April and 45.8 per cent over last
year, although seven banks reported a recession in the first
comparison. May 31 holdings were 23.5 per cent greater
than on April 30 and 43.7 per cent in excess of the corre­
sponding date of 1927;'the volume of bills retained in port­
folios of the banks of origin rose 67.1 per cent over the pre­
ceding month and was 6.7 per cent larger than a year ago.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago bought $29,421,754
of bankers’ acceptances during May and had $32,338,376 on
hand at the close of the period.
Volume of Payment by Check— The city of Chicago
showed a gain of 2.3 per cent in the volume of payment by
check in May as compared with April, and a rise of 15.2
per cent over May, 1927. The four larger cities in the dis­
trict, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Indianapolis, gained
in the aggregate 4.1 per cent over April, and 16.4 per cent
over May a year ago; thirty-three smaller cities reporting
volume of check payment indicated increases of 5.2 and 7.4
per cent, respectively, in the two comparisons, and for
thirty-seven cities in the district the gains were 4.3 per cent

over April and 15.1 per cent over May, 1927. The total for the
thirty-seven cities in May of this year was $7,159,940,000, and
for the city of Chicago, $4,551,895,000.
Savings Deposits—-Seventh district savings showed a gain
on June 1 of 0.1 per cent in number of accounts, 0.4 per cent
in average amount, and 0.5 per cent in total deposits com­
pared with the beginning of May, according to a compila­
tion for 207 reporting banks. Respective increases of 0.9,
2.8, and 3.7 per cent also were recorded over last year.
Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin experienced slight decreases
in the number of accounts from the preceding month, and
total deposits in Iowa were a little lowrer than on May 1.
Banks in Illinois showed a decrease in number of accounts
from a year ago. Individually, about two-fifths of the
banks of the district had a smaller volume of deposits than
at the beginfiing of May, and one-fourth of the reports
showed a recession from June 1, 1927.
Bonds— The demand for bonds has declined considerably
in recent weeks, although those issues which conform to the
public’s idea of price and yield continue to find a fairly
ready market; foreign bonds meet with a good reception.
The higher money rates, resulting from the continued ex­
ports of gold, have been reflected in some readjustment in
bond prices.

AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION AND FOODSTUFFS
Reports from 116 county agents representing 142,862
farmers show 90 per cent of the corn acreage in the Seventh
district planted by June 1, in contrast to only 46 per cent
on the corresponding date last year. Intended acreage has
been increased slightly over May 1. Most localities report
fairly even stands of growing corn this season, with only
a small percentage of replanting necessary, confined largely
to acreages where wireworms and insects have been active.
The winter wheat condition remains practically unchanged.
Oats showed some further improvement during the month
in spite of the cool, dry weather, and abandonment is not
quite so heavy as anticipated earlier in the season; a local
statistician estimates the 1928 crop for the five states in­
cluding the Seventh district as 607,893,000 bushels, com­
pared with the 1927 harvest of 495,397,000 bushels. Pros­
pects for berries and other small fruits are good in this
district; the outlook for tree fruits such as peaches, pears,
apples, and cherries is poor to fair in some counties and fair
to good in others. Garden truck, although slightly back­
ward, was in as good or better condition than on June 1
last year. Beneficial rains were reported over most of the
district at the close of May and during the third week in
June. Reports direct to this bank indicate an 8 per cent
reduction in the size of the pig crop and a 7 per cent in­
crease in the crop of lambs as compared with last spring.
CROP PRODUCTION
Estimated by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics as of June 1.
(In thousands of bushels)
F iv e S t ates I n c l u d in g
S e v e n t h D is t r ic t
U n it e d S tates
F orecast
F in a l
F orecast
F in a l
5-Y r. A v .

1928
Winter wheat ............ 39,034
Rye .............................. 6,745
Peaches ....................... 2,755*
Pears ............................ 1,604*

1927
87,524
9,722
2,007*
1,195*

1928
512,252
36,676
64,186
23,130

1927
552,384
58,572
45,463
18,072

1923-27
549,117
54,873
52,224
20,150

*Four states.

Commercial estimates place the United States crop of
spring wheat as between 245,000,000 and 264,000,000 bushels
and of oats between 1,330,000,000 and 1,390,000,000 bushels,
compared with respective harvests of 319,307,000 and 1,195,006,000 bushels last year.
Grain Marketing— Considerably larger quantities of grain
were handled at interior primary markets of the United
Page 4




States during May than in the preceding month, a year ago,
or the 1923-27 average for the period. Reshipments of oats
decreased from 1927 and were below the average. Visible
supplies of grain in the United States showed a recession
on June 9 from the corresponding Saturday of May, and
holdings of corn and oats declined from June 11, 1927;
wheat, rye, and barley stocks gained over last year. Trad­
ing in futures by members of the Chicago Board of Trade
decreased 6.6 per cent in volume from April, but exceeded
that of last May by 5.8. per cent; commitments for corn,
oats, and rye, however, declined in the latter comparison.
Prices at Chicago trended downward during May, although
the average for the month as a whole was somewhat higher
than in April.
FLOUR PRODUCTION IN T H E SEVEN T H DISTRICT
Changes in May, 1928, from previous months
P er c en t ch an g e from

Production (bbls.)
...........
Stocks of flour at end of month
(bbls.) ............
...........
Stocks of wheat at end of month
..........
(bu.) ................
Sales (volume) ......
...........
Sales (value) ..........
...........

A p r il
1928
+ 7.5

M ay
1927’
+ 11.8

C o m pa n ie s

— 0.5

+ 19.4

29

— 21.4
+ 0.6
+ 5.6

— 0.1
+ 2.9
+ 14.4

29
14
14

Production includes wheat and other flours.
to wheat flour only.

I n clu ded

33

Balance of items refer

Meat Packing— Slaughtering establishments in the United
States produced a larger quantity of edible products during
May than in the preceding month, although the volume con­
tinued less than a year ago. Employment for the last pay­
roll of the period increased 2.3 per cent in number of em­
ployes, and decreased 5.7 per cent in hours worked and 2.8
per cent in total value compared with corresponding figures
for April. Domestic demand for dry salt pork, smoked
meat, boiled ham, and cooked specialties showed a seasonal
improvement during the month. Fresh pork and lamb
moved fairly well, and inquiry for lard averaged slightly
better than in April; the beef trade was a little slow after
the first week of May. Sales billed to domestic and foreign
customers by fifty-six meat packing companies in the United
States totaled 3.3 per cent larger for May than in the pre­
ceding month, and were 0.1 per cent in excess of a year ago.
Domestic demand averaged fair to good at the beginning
of June.

Reshipments to feed lots showed a seasonal expansion
over April; the movement of cattle was larger and that of
lambs smaller than a year ago.

Inventories at packing plants and cold-storage warehouses
in the United States were reported slightly smaller for June
1 than at the beginning of the preceding month, but re­
mained considerably in excess of last year and the 1923-27
June 1 average. Lard holdings increased over May 1, those
of lamb fell below the five-year average, and beef stocks
decreased in all three comparisons. Chicago quotations for
the majority of pork products showed additional strength
in May over the preceding month; prices firmed slightly for
lamb and declined for pork loins and mutton. Quotations
for beef averaged about the same as in April; veal prices
trended slightly upward toward the close of the period.

A V E R A G E PRICES OF L IV E STOCK
(Per hundred pounds at Chicago)
June 16
1928
Native Beef Steers (average).. $13.85
Fat Cows and Heifers.... .............. 10.35
9.75
Hogs (bulk of sales).... ..............
Yearling Sheep ............. .............. 13.10
.............. 16.10
Lambs .................................

Shipments for export totaled a little in excess of those in
April. British inquiry for hams and picnics improved dur­
ing May, and the Continent continued to take a fair tonnage
of fat backs; demand for lard decreased somewhat. Quota­
tions paralleled those of the United States with the excep­
tion of lard prices in the United Kingdom, which remained
under Chicago parity.
Consignment inventories already
landed and in transit to European countries were reported
near the May 1 level.
Movement of Live Stock— A greater number of live ani­
mals arrived at public stock yards in the United States dur­
ing May than in the preceding month. The volume of hog
receipts exceeded the 1925-27 level for May, but showed a
recession from the corresponding period of 1923 and 1924.
Marketings decreased for cattle and increased for lambs in
comparison with the 1923-27 May average.
L IV E STOCK SLAUGHTER
L am bs and
S heep

C alves

789,503

228,608

156,834

3,884,381
3,446,338
3,765,720

1,015,465
917,728
991,533

473,096
438,257
462,191

Ca ttle

Yards in Seventh District,
May, 1928 ...............
Federally Inspected Slaugh­
ter, U. S.
May,
1928 .........
A pril, 1928 ................
May, 1927 ................

H ogs

224,019
723,120
623,380
785,271

M o n t h s of
A p r il

W e e k end ed
M ay

1928
$13.15
10.35
9.75
13.70
16.15

1928
$13.10
9.85
9.25
13.55
16.80

M ay

1927
$10.95
8.10

9.65
12.55
15.15

Dairy Products—-Butter production in the Seventh Federal Reserve district showed a seasonal expansion of 39.9
per cent in May over the preceding month and a recession
of 8.6 per cent from last year, according to a compilation
for sixty-five creameries. Statistics of the American Asso­
ciation of Creamery Butter Manufacturers indicate similar
trends for the United States. The quantity of creamery
butter billed to customers by sixty-seven companies in the
Seventh district totaled 26.6 per cent in excess of April and
8.4 per cent less than in May, 1927. Receipts of American
cheese at Wisconsin primary markets from factories within
the state increased 22.9 per cent during the five weeks ended
June 2 over the preceding period, and declined 7.5 per cent
from a year ago; redistribution from these centers gained
7.7 per cent and decreased 1.6 per cent in the respective
comparisons. Inventories of dairy products at cold-storage
warehouses and packing plants in the United States were
seasonally greater than at the beginning of May but were
below those of last June. Stocks of eggs and cheese ex­
ceeded the 1923-27 average for the month, while butter hold­
ings declined. Chicago receipts of dairy products increased
over April, but remained considerably under a year ago.
May quotations at Chicago averaged slightly firmer than
those of the preceding month.

INDUSTRIAL EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS
taining practically the same rate of increase shown since
the middle of March; the expansion over a year ago
amounts to close to 35 per cent.
Other increases for the month were reported by the food
products group and by stone, clay, and glass products, the
latter continuing its seasonal expansion. A majority of the
chemical industries added to their forces, as did also the
printing industry. The most marked declines were reported
by the textiles and clothing industries and in the manufac­
ture of rubber products.
Building and construction work continued to expand and
a number of coal mines resumed operations, thus aiding
the general employment situation. This was apparent in
the records at the free employment offices, where the ratio
of applicants to positions available showed a uniform de­
cline: from 156 per cent to 146 for Illinois, from 132 to 119
for Indiana, and from 295 to 254 in Iowa.

The industrial market for labor was slightly firmer in
May than a month earlier, manufacturing plants of the
district reporting increases of 0.5 per cent in men and 1.9
per cent in payrolls for the period April 15 to May 15.
These gains partly balanced the losses of 1.2 per cent in
the number of workers and 2.1 per cent in payrolls that
were experienced in the preceding month, and also brought
the volume of employment at the reporting plants to within
5 per cent of last year’s volume. Employment in metals
and metal products, with an additional gain of 0.4 per cent,
is 5 per cent higher than at the beginning of the year. The
vehicles group registered a substantial increase, the man­
ufacture of cars and locomotives requiring a large number
of additional workers, and the automobile industry also
showing a further expansion. At Detroit, the volume of
employment reported for June 12 was 2.7 per cent larger
than four weeks earlier, the industries in this city thus main­
EM PLOYM ENT

AN D

EARNINGS— SEVEN T H

FED ERAL

RESERVE

DISTRICT

N u m b e r of W age E arners
I n d u s t r ia l G roups

All groups (1 0 )................................................................
Metals and metal products (other than vehicles)
Vehicles ............... .......... ...................................................
Textiles and textile products......................................
Food and related products..........................................
Stone, clay, and glass products..................................
Lumber and its products...............................................
Chemical products ..........................................................
Leather products ............................................................ .
Rubber products ............................................................
Paper and printing........................................................




W eek E nded
M a y 15
A p r il 15
1928
1928
349,819
137,774
33,608
26,193
48,053
13,774
29,132
10,751
14,932
3,699
31,903

347,974
137,198
32,551
26,881
47,491
13,222
29,443
10,597
15,208
3,749
31,634

T otal E arnings

P er C e n t
C hange

+ 0.5
+ 0.4
+ 3.2
— 2.6
+ 1.2
+ 4.2
— 1.1
+ 1.5
— 1.8
— 1.3
+ 0.9

W eek E nded
M a y 15
A p r il 15
1928
1928
$9,560,607
3,818,594
1.016,319
560,041
1.326,527
401,236
717,193
287,947
315,302
86,890
1,030,558

$9,385,331
3,765,851
975,889
579,722
1,276,675
365,673
706,942
277,327
298,237
88,782
1,050,233

P er C ent
C hange
+ 1.9
+ 1.4
+ 4.1
— 3.4
+ 3.9
+ 9.7
+ 1.5
+ 3.8
+ 5.7
— 2.1
— 1.9

Page 5

COAL
For several months demand for both domestic and steam
sizes of coal has been exceedingly light, and recent weeks
have shown no improvement in the situation. Although
production in Illinois and Indiana was considerably reduced
in April and May because of a strike, thus curtailing the
supply of screenings, industrial concerns displayed little
interest and continued to use coal in storage piles. As a
consequence of the light demand, price levels have been
lower.
Output of coal from Illinois mines during the first five
months of 1928 totaled 22,649,639 tons, as compared with

26,462,181 tons for the corresponding period of last year.
From a peak of 7,147,830 tons in March this year, Illinois
production declined in April to 1,224,546 tons and then
increased to 2,685,737 tons for May. Despite the reduced
output in this territory, United States production of bitu­
minous coal has been average for this season.
The movement of lake coal so far in 1928 has been con­
siderably smaller than in the same period of 1927, loadings
of bituminous coal at Lake Erie ports totaling 5,257,384
tons to the end of May this year, as compared with
9,298,046 tons last year.

MANUFACTURING ACTIVITIES AND OUTPUT
Automobile Production and Distribution— United States
production of passenger automobiles in May was the high­
est of any month since August, 19'26, totaling 375,798,
which compares with 364,877 in April and 357,150 for May
a year ago. Truck output likewise increased in May, and
exceeded that of any month since April, 1926, the total for
the United States being 50,192.
Retail sales by automobile dealers in the Middle West
were larger during May than in either April or the corre­
sponding month of 1927; sales of used cars likewise gained
in these comparisons. Distribution at wholesale increased
over the preceding month but was less than last year.
Stocks of both new and used cars were lower on May 31
than a month previous or a year ago, except that the value
of used cars on hand was higher in the year-to-year com­
parison. Deferred payment sales during May of thirty-one
dealers averaged 39.8 per cent of their total retail sales,
compared with 38.1 in April and 42.1 for May, 1927.
M ID W E ST DISTRIBUTION OF AUTOMOBILES
Changes in May, 1928, from previous months
P e r c e n t CHAN G E FROM
M ay
A p ril

1927

C o m pa n ie s
I ncluded

4.4
4.3

— 4.6
— 1.1

33
33

+ 1 1 . S

+ 1 2 .3

+ 5.7
+ 14.8

46
46

— 13.8
— 16.4

— 3.5
— 7.7

48
48

1928
New cars
Wholesale—Number sold ................ ........
Value .............................. ........
Retail—
Number sold ................ .............
Value ......................................
On hand May 31—
Number ......................... ........
Value ............................. ........
Used cars
Number sold ................ ........
Salable on hand—
Number ......................... ........
Value ........... ..........................

+
+

+ 2 1 .7

+ 14.2

46

— 8.9
— 3.7

— 3.8
+ 14.9

46
46

Agricultural Machinery and Equipment— May sales of
agricultural machinery and equipment billed to customers
exceeded those of April by 4.4 per cent in the light group
and 39.8 per cent in barn equipment, and decreased 1.5 per
cent in the tractor, thresher, combination harvester-thresh­
er group, according to reports sent direct to this bank by
seventy-five manufacturers in the United States. Increases
of 23.9 per cent in heavy machinery, 26.4 per cent in “ all
other” (exclusive of barn supplies), and of 25.2 per cent in
barn equipment were recorded over a year ago.
PRODUCTION

AND

SALES OF FARM EQUIPMENT
UNITED STATES
Changes in May, 1928, from previous months
P er c e n t c h a n g e from
M ay
A p r il

Domestic sales billed
...............
.
Sales billed for export........
Total sales billed...............................
.
Production ..............................

1928
.4
+ 3 -4
— 5.8
+ 1 .9
— 1.5
average

1927
+ 22.1
+ 4 5 .6
+ 25.1
+ 23.9

IN

THE

C o m p a n ie s
I n clu de d

75
41
75
73

em ploym en t d u r in g the m onth.

Sales based on value.

Iron and Steel Products— Although operations of Chica­
go district steel mills have been gradually declining in
Page 6




recent weeks, they are at a higher rate than in most
other districts, and the recession has been slower than usual
for the season. May production, shipments, specifications,
and sales exceeded those in the corresponding period of
1927. Pig iron production in the Illinois and Indiana dis­
trict was smaller in May than in either April or May last
year, and the daily average for the country followed the
same trend. Steel ingot output in the United States like­
wise was lower in the daily average for May than in the
preceding month and was very slightly higher than in
May, 1927. Unfilled orders of the United States Steel Cor­
poration on May 31 totaled 3,416,822 tons, or a drop of
455,311 tons from April 30, and the smallest amount on
hand since October 31, 1927.
Steel prices at Chicago are showing uncertainty, and are
below a year ago. Pig iron declined after the middle of
May, and scrap metal prices have been at a lower level
since the third week of May. Because of a general weakness
in pig iron, the composite price for the United States of
fourteen leading iron and steel products, compiled by Iron
Trade Review, declined between May 16 and June 13 from
$35.53 to $35.48, and due to weakness in sheets and semi­
finished steel, dropped sharply on June 20 to $35.20; on
June 22 last year the composite was $36.65.
May shipments of malleable and steel casting foundries
in the Seventh district were larger than in the preceding
month or May, 1927. Shipments by stove and furnace
manufacturers also increased in both comparisons.
Shoe Manufacturing, Tanning, and Hides— May ship­
ments from shoe factories in the Seventh Federal Reserve
district totaled 7.6 per cent less than production, although
each showed an expansion in volume over the preceding
month in contrast to the customary seasonal recession.
Twenty-six concerns reported stock shoes on hand equiva­
lent in the aggregrate to 120.0 per cent of their May ship­
ments. Nearly nine weeks’ future operation at the current
rate of distribution was indicated by unfilled orders on the
books of twenty-three companies.
CHANGES

IN TH E SHOE M AN U FAC TU R IN G IN D U STR Y
M A Y , 1928, FROM PREVIOUS MONTHS
P er c en t c h a n g e fro m
M ay
A p r il

Production ......................... ....
Shipments ......................... ....
Stock shoes on hand...... ....
Unfilled orders ................ ....

1928
+ 6.2
+ 0.1
+ 1 1 .2
+ 3 4 .1

1927
— 7.7
— 11.7
+ 18.5
+ 4.9

IN

C o m p a n ie s I n cl u d e d
M ay
A p r il

1928
31
31
26
23

1927
31
31
26
22

Leather production and sales in the Seventh district to­
taled slightly more for May than for April or a year ago.
Individually, however, a number of the tanners reported
recessions in these comparisons. Prices declined in May,
and then displayed a slightly steadier tendency toward the
dose of the period.
The Chicago market for packer green hides and skins

showed more activity during May than in the preceding
month; purchases by district tanners also were reported as
heavier than in April. Shipments from the city, however,
were below the preceding period. Prices declined.
Furniture— A gain of 23.9 per cent over April was shown
in the amount of May orders booked by twenty-seven fur­
niture manufacturers of this district, but the aggregate was
3.2 per cent smaller than in May last year; nineteen com­
panies reported increases in the former comparison and
twelve in the latter. Shipments fell off 5.2 per cent from
the preceding month and were 12.2 per cent less than a
year ago. The larger volume of new orders brought un­
filled orders on hand at the end of May to 16.7 per cent
more than on April 30, although the amount was 23.0 per
cent below the corresponding date of 1927. Production in-

creased slightly over April, but was at a lower rate than
for May last year.
Raw Wool and Finished Woolens— The strong position
of the raw wool market was maintained through May,
though trading was more or less spotty. The medium
grade wools were in greatest demand, and registered fur­
ther advances in price. Competition was reported as keen
for the new clip in the Middle Western states, largely due
to the active demand for medium quality fleece wools.
Sales of fine wools were indicated as only fair, but with
prices firm. Pulled wools, at a between-seasons period,
showed a smaller volume of sales during May, though
prices remained unchanged. Mixed conditions prevailed in
finished goods, and the situation was little changed from
April. Most manufacturers have made advances in cloth
prices during recent weeks.

1 UILDING MATERIAL AND CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES
3
Sales of lumber as reported in dollar value by nineteen
wholesalers and manufacturers of the district were 14.3 per
cent larger in May than in April, while in board feet they
showed an increase of 15.8 per cent. Comparisons with a
year ago were less favorable, registering an increase of
4.0 per cent in board feet but a decline of 5.2 per cent in
dollar value. Similar changes took place in outstanding
accounts; these were less marked, however, so that the
ratio of accounts to sales declined to 119 per cent from
124 the preceding month, but was above the 117 per cent
reported for May a year ago. Stocks on hand May 31
were generally lower than either a month previous or last
year, and price quotations show an upward tendency.
At 228 retail yards of the district sales totaled 22.3 per
cent more than in April and were 0.6 per cent higher than
in May, 1927, the first increase shown so far this year in
the yearly comparison. The expansion in outstanding ac­
counts during the month was less than in sales, the ratio
falling from 301 per cent for April to 271, which compares
with 281 for May a year ago. Stocks were somewhat lower
than at the close of either the preceding month or the
corresponding month of 1927. Receipts of lumber at Chi­
cago, as well as shipments out of the city, were heavier
than in April but still below the volume of a year ago.
Shipments, especially, show a large decline in comparison
with those of last year, resulting in a gain in the volume of

lumber retained for Chicago use, net receipts for the first
five months of this year exceeding the same period in 1927
by 12.4 per cent.
The shipment of cement from plants in the Seventh dis­
trict was in large volume during May, road paving con­
tracts constituting a heavy share of the demand. Produc­
tion also increased substantially, so that stocks have been
only slightly depleted. In the brick industry there was a
seasonal gain for the month, but shipments were lower
than a year ago.
Building Construction— Contracts awarded in the Sev­
enth district during May amounted to $139,783,539, the
highest total for the month on record, 8.7 per cent over the
April volume, and 33.1 per cent in excess of May, 1927.
O f this amount, $56,929,583, or 40.7 per cent, was for
residential building. Permits issued in fifty cities of the
district registered increases in estimated valuation of 24.0
per cent over April, and of 7.3 per cent over the correspond­
ing month last year.
The number of permits issued
similarly showed gains of 18.7 and 0.6 per cent, respec­
tively. Forty-six additional cities for which a monthly
comparison of the building permits issued is now available,
recorded a gain in May of 18.5 per cent in number of
permits and 3.1 per cent in estimated cost. These addi­
tional returns represent much of the newly developed ter­
ritory adjacent to the city of Chicago.

MERCHANDISING CONDITIONS
Wholesale Trade—With the exception of hardware and
groceries, where slight declines were recorded from a year
ago, May sales in all lines of wholesale trade reporting to
this bank increased over April and over May last year.
In electrical supplies, drugs, and shoes, gains were shown
for the first five months of 1928 in comparison with the

same period of 1927. Collections followed the trend of
sales, increasing over April in all lines and in all except
hardware and dry goods over a year ago; in general, they
are reported as fair. Prices are firm, with an upward
tendency in groceries and shoes, and with several reports
of a downward trend in electrical supplies and equipment.

W H O L ESAL E TRADE DURING T H E M ONTH OF M A Y , 1928
Net Sales During Month

Stocks at End of Month

Accounts

P er C e n t C h a n g e F rom
P r ec ed in g S a m e M o n t h
M onth
L ast Y ear

P er C e n t C h a n g e F r om
P r e c e d in g S a m e M o n t h
M onth
L a st Y ear

P er C e n t C h a n g e F rom
R a t io to
N e t S ales
P r ec ed in g S a m e M o n t h
M onth
L ast Y e ar
D u r in g M o n t h

Groceries ...............
Hardware .............
Dry. Goods ...........
Drugs ......................
Shoes ......................
Electrical Supplies

(37) + 12.5
(15) + 1 6 .4
(13) + 1 0 .0
( 1 2 ) + 5.6
( 8) + 15.1
( 4 5 ) + 5.5

(37)— 1.5
(15)— 0.8
( 1 3 ) + 3.0
( 1 2 ) + 8.4
( 8) + 2 0 .6
( 4 5 ) + 9.0

(25)—
(10)—
(10)—
(11)—
( 6) +
(37)—

0.4
0.9
2.5
3.0
2.4
2.5

(25)— 6.6
(10)— 0.9
( 1 0 ) + 3.8
(11)— 4.7
( 5) + 2 8 .5
(36)— 5.7

(3 3 )+
(1 5 )+
(12)—
d l)+
( 7) +
(4 1 )+

Outstanding End of

1.5
4.0
2.8
1.4
0.7
0.8

(34)— 7.4
(15)— 1.3
(11)— 2.5
( 1 D + 1-9
( 6) + 11.1
( 4 2 ) + 1.9

(34)
(15)
(12)
(11)
( 7)
(43)

Month

101.8
192.5
316.7
138.3
266.9
124.2

Collections During Month
P er C e n t C h a n g e F rom
P r e c e d in g S a m e M o n t h
M onth
L ast Y ear

(2 7 )+
(1 3 )+
(10) +
( 7) +
( 6) +
(3 2 )+

5.7
8.0
10.6
9.6
4.6
6.8

( 2 7 ) + 5.0
(13)— 8.8
( 9)— 1.1
( 5) + 1 7 .6
( 5 ) + 8.6
( 3 2 ) + 8.3

Figures in parentheses indicate number of firms included.

Department Store Trade— One hundred department stores
of the Seventh district showed May sales aggregating 7.7
per cent more than in April, 10.3 per cent above May last



year, and 4.0 per cent more for the first five months of
1928 than for the same period of 1927. The total for Chi­
cago, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Indianapolis stores, as well
Page 7

as that for fifty-six smaller centers, increased in the com­
parisons with April and with the corresponding month a
year ago, while sales for the year so far were larger than
in 1927 in Chicago, Detroit, and Indianapolis, but smaller
in Milwaukee and in other cities. Stocks on hand May 31
were generally lower than a month previous and slightly
heavier than a year ago. Stock turnover (the ratio of sales
to average stocks) was 34.3 per cent for May, 1928, as
against 31.7 per cent for May, 1927, while turnover for
1928 to date averages 158.9' per cent compared with 154.1
per cent last year. Collections during May increased 6.3
per cent over the preceding month and 6.8 per cent over
last year; accounts receivable the end of the month gained
3.7 per cent in the monthly and 7.9 per cent in the yearly
comparison. May collections totaled 40.3 per cent of ac­
counts outstanding April 30, which compares with a ratio
of 39.5 per cent a year ago.
Retail Shoe Trade—Total sales of twenty-three retail
shoe dealers and the shoe sections of. twenty-one depart­
ment stores increased 0.8 per cent in May over April; in­
dividually, twenty-one dealers and thirteen department
stores reported gains. In comparison with May, 1927, sales
were larger by 9.6 per cent, more than four-fifths of the

reports showing increases.
Sales for the first five months
of the year aggregated 1.1 per cent smaller than for the
corresponding period of 1927. Stocks of thirty-seven firms
totaled 4.8 per cent less at the end of May than a month
previous, but exceeded those of a year ago by 12.2 per cent.
Total collections during May by sixteen dealers increased
20.8 per cent over April, but declined 4.5 per cent from last
May; accounts receivable the end of the month gained
19.0 and 4.0 per cent in the respective comparisons. The
ratio for May of accounts receivable to sales was 63.8 per
cent, compared with 60.9 for April and 67.2 a year ago.
Chain Store Trade— Twenty-three chains operating 2,292
stores in May, had aggregate sales 4.2 per cent larger than
in April and 22.4 per cent heavier than in May a year ago.
The number of stores increased 1.4 and 16.8 per cent in
these comparisons, while average sales per store showed
gains of 2.8 and 5.6 per cent, respectively. With the ex­
ception of musical instruments, all reporting groups (gro­
cery, drug, five-and-ten-cent, cigar, shoe, men’s and w o­
men’s clothing) indicated larger sales in the May-April
comparison, and all except cigars and musical instruments
showed sales increases over a year ago.

M O N TH LY BUSINESS INDICES COMPUTED BY FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF CHICAGO
(Index numbers express a comparison of unit or dollar volume for the month indicated, using the monthly average for 1923-1924-1925 as a base,
unless otherwise indicated. Where figures for latest month shown are partly estimated on basis of returns received to date, revisions will be given
the following month. Data refer to the Seventh Federal Reserve District unless otherwise noted.)
No. of
Firms
Meat Packing— (U. S .)—
Sales (in dollars) ............................... ......... 59
Casting Foundries—
Shipments :
Steel— In dollars............................... ......... 15
In tons ............................ ......... IS
Malleable— In dollars .................. ......... 19
In tons ...................... ......... 16
Stoves and Furnaces—
Shipments (in dollars) ...................... ......... 12
Agricultural Machinery
& Equipment— (U . S .)—
Domestic Sales (in dollars) ........... ......... 83
Exports (in dollar^) ........................ ......... 56
Total Sales (in dollars)...................... ......... 83
Production ............................................ ......... 82
Furniture—
Orders (in dollars) ........................... ......... 27
Shipments (in dollars) .................... ......... 27
Shoes— 1
Production (in pairs) ...................... ......... 32
Shipments (in pairs) ........................ ......... 32
Electric Energy—
8
Output of Plants ( K W H ) ............... .........
8
Industrial Sales (K W H ) ................ .........
Flour—
Production (in bbls.) ........................ ......... 32
Output of Butter by Creameries
Production ...................................................... 74
Sales ....................................................... ......... 74
Automobiles—
Distribution in Middle W e s t:
New cars— Wholesale— Number sold 36
Value.... ......... 36
New cars— Retail
— Number sold 89
Value.... .......... 89
New cars— On hand— Number... ......... 53
Value....... ......... 53
Used cars—
— Number sold.. 83
Used cars— On hand— Number... ......... 51
Value....... ......... 51
Production (U . S.) : Passenger cars......
Trucks.............
Freight Carloadings— (U . S .)—
Grain and Grain Products...............
Live Stock ............................................
Coal .........................................................
Coke ........................... - .........................
Forest Products .................................
Ore ...........................................................
Merchandise and Miscellaneous.......
Total ..................................... ........ .....
Iron and Steel—
Pig Iron Production:2
Illinois and Indiana.......................
United States ..................................
Steel Ingot Production— (U . S .)2..
Unfilled orders U. S. Steel Corp...

May Apr.
1928
1928

May
1927

Apr.
1927

108.1

103.8

108.0

102.4

86.4
87.8
72.0
101.1

79.0
81.0
68.9
98.4

83.4
86.9
63.5
84.0

89.5
94.1
72.5
96.8

105.9

91.2

92.1

93.4

189.4
184.7
188.7
146.9

184.6
200.6
187.2
148.2

153.9
124.0
149.1
119.3

154.8
139.2
152.3
122.7

96.6
86.7

77.9
91.5

105.3
95.4

90.9
108.4

89.1
82.3

83.5
81.9

96.9
93.5

103.2
108.1

139.3
167.9

137.3
163.1

128.5
150.0

128.0
145.3

100.2

93.1

88.8

88.3

145.2
119.4

104.0
94.4

158.6
130.3

113.2
103.5

191.0
150.2
116.1
150.3
120.3
122.0
189.3
127.3
140.7
127.7
139.9

176.0
136.4
99.1
125.8
140.7
145.5
148.4
140.9
144.0
124.0
126.3

207.9
160.0
115.1
138.7
123.6
132.6
173.4
131.2
124.1
121.4
130.9

197.9
160.8
116.1
141.3
127.9
132.5
168.0
145.5
127.6
121.3
133.1

88.7
81.7
92.0
86.7
96.0
118.7
113.6
106.0

87.2
79.8
84.4
84.9
90.1
27.1
109.3
97.7

87.7
89.1
94.2
91.4
100.5
158.2
112.6
108.0

81.4
83.7
89.5
95.8
95.7
69.0
110.3
101.3

129.3
107.9
116.8
71.6

133.3
108.1
129.1
81.1

131.3
111.4
116.8
63.9

132.7
116.2
119.1
72.4

1. Monthly average of mean of production and shipments in 1923-24-25 =
district; 4. Monthly average receipts 1923-24-25 = 100.

Page 8




No. of
Firms
Wholesale Trade—
Net Sales (in dollars) :
Groceries ..................................
37
Hardware ..................................
17
Dry Goods ................................
12
Drugs ...........................................
10
Shoes ...........................................
8
Retail Trade (Dept. Stores)Net Sales (in dollars) :
Chicago .......................................
28
Detroit ......................................
4
Indianapolis ..............................
5
Milwaukee ..................................
5
Outside ......................................
60
Seventh District .....................
102
Retail Trade— (U . S .)—
Department Stores ......................
565
Mail Order Houses .................
4
Chain Stores :
Grocery .......................................
34
Drug ...........................................
13
Shoe ...........................................
7
Five and Ten Cent ...............
14
Candy .........................................
4
Apparel .......................................
5
Cigar ............................................
4
Stamp Tax Collections— s
Sales or Transfers of Capital Stock........
Sales of Produce on Exchange—
-Futures
U. S. Primary Markets— 4
Grain Receipts:
Oats .............................................
Corn ...........................................
Wheat ........................................ .
Grain Shipments:
Oats ............................................
Corn ..............................................
Wheat .........................................
Building Construction—
Contracts awarded (in dollars)
Residential .................................
Total ...........................................
Permits:
Chicago ....................................... Number
Cost......
Indianapolis ............................... .Number
Cost......
Des Moines ............................... .Number
Cost......
Detroit ....................................... .Number
Cost......
Milwaukee ................................. .Number
Cost......
Others (45) ..............................Number
Cost......
Fifty Cities ................................. .Number
Cost......
100;

2.

Average daily production;

3.

May Apr.
1928
1928

May
1927

Apr.
1927

100.2
98.2
73.0
104.3
99.4

89.2
84.3
66.4
97.0
86.3

100.8
98.6
70.8
95.9
82.4

95.6
96.9
73.8
96.2
99.8

111.1
156.9
104.5
116.8
103.0
117.8

103.1
148.3
94.9
103.6
95.8
109.1

100.8
127.5
100.3
113.8
97.4
106.2

110.7
138.9
103.4
115.3
106.5
114.8

107
116

102
115

102
99

111
120

213
164
130
139
127
221
110

202
154
130
135
130
195
100

171
134
109
123
115
171
113

172
144
150
135
136
199
113

300.7
134.4

192.3
62.8

88.3
57.3

77.2
67.6

69.5
108.6
74.2

60.7
92.3
53.6

57.5
60.1
55.1

44.5
48.0
41.5

74.7
107.8
81.1

63.4
91.8
41.2

75.9
45.0
49.9

55.0
57.5
52.1

193.9
204.1

183.1
187.8

146.9
153.4

165.6
166.5

79.8
146.1
91.8
137.5
66.5
42.8
100.7
87.4
125.2
116.4
132.9
128.0
114.3
126.2

64.9
107.0
79.7
86.5
80.4
40.6
90.0
83.3
84.9
111.8
119.3
111.5
96.2
101.8

86.4
101.4
103.2
109.7
58.8
34.4
92.1
94.8
119.9
160.7
134.7
164.8
113.5
117.6

95.8
154.9
94.3
85.4
63.4
38.8
105.3
100.2
97.0
142.9
137.5
152.2
112.8
138.1

First Illinois internal revenue

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