January 11, 2012
The Southeast economy improved steadily in November, according to the most recent Data Digest, a monthly state-by-state overview of economic conditions in the region.
Produced by the Atlanta Fed's Regional Economic Information Network (REIN), the January report indicated improvements in manufacturing activity and consumer sentiment. However, significant gains in the region's labor market have yet to materialize.
Manufacturing activity, as measured by the Southeast Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), picked up in November. Several states—Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana—registered PMI readings above the regional measure of 51.9 (an index reading above 50 represents an expansion).
Meanwhile, the southeastern housing market, while still depressed, improved slightly in some states. Brokers reported positive but soft sales growth in November, while builders in the region pointed to a slight rebound in new home sales compared to year-ago levels. However, high inventories and weak demand continue to exert downward pressure on home prices, the report noted.
For more data and analysis on the southeastern economy, see the full Data Digest online.