Data Digest: Modest Improvements in Southeast Economy

May 15, 2013

Photo of factoryBroad measures of economic activity continued to improve across the Southeast in March, according to the latest Data Digest. The monthly report, published by the Regional Economic Information Network (REIN), includes state-level data and analysis on the Southeast economy.

The report also noted improvements in the regional labor market. Most sectors have been gaining jobs, but some—such as state and local governments in many states—have continued to shed payrolls. Unemployment rates are improving across much of the Southeast, but Mississippi and Louisiana saw their jobless rates increase in March.

Despite these modest improvements, the Atlanta Fed reported that its D6 Factor, a broad measure of southeastern economic conditions, declined for the third consecutive month in March. The index, which fell 0.17 point, also marked the first year-over-year decline since 2012, the report said.

On a brighter note, regional manufacturing activity has gained speed in recent months. Kennesaw State University's Southeast Purchasing Manager Index (PMI) expanded for the third consecutive month in March to 55.2. (An index reading of 50 or higher is consistent with an expansion.) In particular, the Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee components came in above the regional reading. Alabama's PMI component came in lower than that of the Southeast but remained in expansionary territory. Meanwhile, the Louisiana and Mississippi components were well below the regional reading, at 45.4 and 38.2, respectively.

To read more about key economic developments in the Southeast, be sure to read the full Data Digest.