What Is the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta?

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is one of 12 Federal Reserve Banks, and represents the sixth district in the U.S. Its territory includes the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, as well as portions Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana. The bank maintains branch offices in Birmingham, Jacksonville, Miami, Nashville and New Orleans.

The bank has developed two widely used economic tools: the GDPNow and the Wage Growth Tracker.

Key Takeaways

  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta comprises one of twelve reserve banks in the Federal Reserve System. 
  • The Atlanta Fed serves the Sixth Federal Reserve District, which covers the states of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia; 74 counties in the eastern two-thirds of Tennessee; 38 parishes of southern Louisiana; and 43 counties of southern Mississippi.
  • Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, branch banks are located at Birmingham, AL; Jacksonville and Miami, FL; Nashville, TN; and New Orleans, LA.
  • The Atlanta Fed also hosts the Fed's GDPNow and Wage Growth Ticker tools.

Understanding the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, one of 12 reserve banks within the federal reserve system, executes the central bank's monetary policy by reviewing price inflation and economic growth, and by regulating the banks, bank holding companies, and savings and loan holding companies within its territory. It provides cash to banks within its district, and monitors electronic deposits. Many market participants know the Atlanta Fed for its innovative research department.

One-dollar bank notes printed by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta are denoted by the letter 'F' representing the sixth district; 'F' is also the 6th letter of the alphabet.

Raphael W. Bostic took office on June 5, 2017, as the 15th president and chief executive officer of the Sixth District, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. In 2020, he serves as an alternate voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee. Bostic is an economist and a former professor of public policy at the University of Southern California.

6th Federal District
6th Federal District.

The Atlanta Fed's GDPNow Tool

The GDPNow is a running estimate of real gross domestic product (GDP) growth during the current quarter, as opposed to the official GDP numbers which are released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) with a significant delay that can impact policy decisions. As such many market participants closely follow the GDPNow estimates.

The Wage Growth Tracker

The Atlanta Fed’s Wage Growth Tracker measures the nominal wage growth of U.S. individuals. Using micro data from the Current Population Survey (CPS), it tracks the median percent change in the hourly wage on a moving 12-month basis. The Atlanta Fed updates the data monthly. It’s important to note that the Atlanta Fed Wage Growth Tracker plots only the median percent of an individual’s wage growth over a year. That means, first, that it does not track actual wages; and second, by definition it only considers continuously employed individuals. As such, some economists, notably Jared Bernstein, believe the Wage Tracker exaggerates wage growth since continuously employed individuals will naturally get raises, or what Bernstein calls the “experience premium.”

The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, along with the presidents of the 11 other banks and the seven governors of the Federal Reserve Board, meet every six weeks in order to set interest rates. This is referred to as the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)