August report points to some improvement amid slow economy

Although the economic recovery in the Southeast has somewhat lagged that of the nation, there are some improvements in the region's economy, according to the latest data digest from the Atlanta Fed's Regional Economic Information Network (REIN).

Photo of hand holding cashIn Florida, whose economy has been battered by the housing bust and recession, the report pointed to an uptick in existing home sales, driven largely by foreclosures and other distressed sales. Although sales of existing homes have continued to decline outside of Florida, they are falling at a slower pace in some Southeast states.

Other improvements include sales tax revenues, which have been increasing on a year-over-year basis, and the region's leisure and hospitality sector, which is benefiting from strong tourism activity. According to the Atlanta Fed's Retail Sales Survey, tax collections across the region from April to June increased 5.2 percent over the same period in 2010. Despite those gains, however, sales tax revenues have grown at a slower pace in recent months for nearly all Southeast states.

Be sure to read the full data digest, which contains state-by-state data, analysis, and charts on the Southeast economy.