January 18, 2013
The pace of economic activity in the Southeast continued to modestly increase in November, according to the latest Data Digest. Despite these improvements, conditions in parts of the region continued to lag the national economy. Produced monthly by the Regional Economic Information Network (REIN), the Digest includes state-level data on the southeastern economy's key sectors.
The region's employment situation also continued to improve, although progress remained uneven. Unemployment rates in states hit hard by the 2008 recession—including Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi—remained above the national average. Tennessee experienced three consecutive monthly declines in its unemployment rate, bringing it to 7.6 percent in November, the report said. However, jobless rates in most major metropolitan areas in the Southeast were lower than they were a year ago.
Conditions in the region's manufacturing sector were less promising in November. The Southeast Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell in November to 46.2 (a reading below 50 indicates a contraction). Florida, Georgia, and Louisiana experienced readings above the regional measure, although they were flat or down from the month before. The Digest also highlights results from the Atlanta Fed's poll of homebuilders and brokers in the region. Both groups reported year-over-year improvements in sales, buyer traffic, and prices in November. For more insight on the region's housing markets and other key sectors, check out the full report.