Data Digest: Economic Recovery Remains Slow in Southeast

October 16, 2012

The Southeast economy continued to be somewhat mixed in August, according to the Atlanta Fed's Data Digest. The monthly report includes state-by-state data and analysis on the region's economy.

map image of the southeastEconomic activity improved slightly in some states, according to the Philadelphia Fed's coincident economic indicator. Florida and Georgia, for instance, have seen steady gains in their index readings, while other southeastern states held steady. Economic activity for the region as a whole continues to lag that of the nation, according to the Digest. The same can be said of employment in the region, with most states reporting unemployment rates above the national average of 8.1 percent. Only Louisiana, with a jobless rate of 7.4 percent in August, came in below the U.S. average.

On a more positive note, manufacturing activity expanded in August, according to the Southeast Purchasing Managers Index (PMI). The regional reading increased in August to 50 (an index reading of 50 or higher indicates an expansion). However, two states—Mississippi and Tennessee—saw their indices contract.

The Atlanta Fed's construction and real estate survey highlights another bright spot: the region's housing sector. According to the August survey, a majority of brokers and builders reported that sales were ahead of year-earlier levels. Respondents also indicated declining inventories and rising prices.

For more data and analysis of the southeastern economy, read the full Data Digest.