May REIN report shows mixed economic conditions in the Southeast

The May report from the Atlanta Fed's Regional Economic Information Network (REIN) notes improvements in some sectors but mixed conditions in others.

The District's agricultural sector improved during the first part of 2010, with citrus, cotton, and poultry prices posting gains over last year's levels. Cotton prices in April rose the most, jumping 40 percent from a year earlier.

District homes sales, on the other hand, showed more mixed progress. Homes sales softened in the first quarter of the year but remained positive on a year-over-year basis, the report noted. The Atlanta Fed's survey of Southeastern Realtors and homebuilders reflected those figures, with the outlook for the sector remaining positive but softening somewhat since the previous month's report.

Consumer spending, another sector with mixed reports, improved somewhat but remained down on a yearly basis. Retail sales posted modest growth in April, led by building and garden equipment stores. Meanwhile most other categories remained stable. Tourism in the District, though showing signs of improvement, was affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Tennessee floods in early May.

For more data and analysis on these and other sectors, read the full report. This month's release features a new format, with concise text and more prominent charts.