Data Digest: A Mixed Report on the Southeast Economy

July 17, 2012

photo of construction siteThe July Data Digest report points to softer economic performance in the Southeast, as evidenced by the Philadelphia Fed's coincident indicator. The state-level readings for half of the region dipped in May.

Meanwhile, manufacturing activity, as measured by the Southeastern Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), also slowed. However, at 57.9, the regional reading remained in expansionary territory (indicated by a reading of 50 or higher). The component index for half of the southeastern states—Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana—came in below the regional reading.

The Atlanta Fed's D6 factor, a measure of economic conditions in the region, served as a further indicator of the Southeast economy's tepid growth. The indicator was flat in May from its level in March, the report said. Further, the reading increased just 0.13 point from a year ago, pointing to a slowdown in the recovery from the second half of 2011.

Despite the somewhat cloudy economic news elsewhere in the report, the Atlanta Fed's business contact survey pointed to tentative improvements in the region's housing markets. Home prices fell in the first quarter throughout much of the Southeast, but homebuilders and brokers in the survey indicated that sales increased in May from year-ago levels. Further, both reported a positive outlook for buyer traffic over the next several months.

For more state-by-state data and analysis on the Southeast economy, see the full Data Digest.