February 21, 2014
The Southeast economy ended 2013 on a positive note, according to the latest Data Digest. Produced monthly by the Regional Economic Information Network (REIN), the report provides a state-by-state snapshot of economic conditions in the Southeast.
The region's labor markets continued to heal in December. Employment in the government sector remained weak, but other industries such as professional and business services and leisure and hospitality have seen a stronger recovery. Unemployment rates throughout much of the Southeast declined over the year.
Meanwhile, the Southeast Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which measures manufacturing activity in the region, declined 3.8 points to 48.4 in December. Both Georgia and Florida were firmly in expansionary territory, while the components for the remaining four states indicated contracting activity.
Housing market continues to heal
The Southeast housing market continued to recover in 2013. Builder and broker respondents to the Atlanta Fed's December poll reported flat or slightly stronger home sales and slightly higher prices on a year-over-year basis. After reporting slower buyer traffic for several months, brokers and builders indicated in December that buyer traffic was ahead of year-ago levels.
Contacts were mostly positive about the outlook for sales over the next three months, with more than half of builders and brokers expecting an increase. However, fewer contacts expected an improvement compared to one year ago, the Digest noted.
To read more about the Southeast economy, see the full Data Digest.