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Research & the Economy


Data Digest: Southeast economy expanding, but slowly

November's Data Digest paints a picture of a regional economy that continues to expand, albeit at a slow pace. The state-by-state report of economic conditions in the Southeast is produced monthly by the Atlanta Fed's Regional Economic Information Network (REIN).

According to the coincident indicator compiled by the Philadelphia Fed, many state economies in the region are on par with the national economy, while some continue to lag U.S. figures. The Atlanta Fed's D6 Factor, an index providing a broad measure of economic conditions in the region, improved slightly in September by two-tenths of a point. The reading, while down from its peak earlier this year, still indicates modest improvements in the region's economy.

The employment picture across the region is stable, but most states have yet to see meaningful job gains. Unemployment rates in most southeastern states, with the exception of Louisiana, are above U.S. rates. Although the labor market is still in the doldrums, a few states reported slight improvements. In Florida, for example, the leisure and hospitality and health care sectors have gained jobs over the past year. And in Tennessee, where most sectors have added jobs during the past year, total employment increased for the third consecutive month in September.

Despite flagging consumer confidence in several southeastern states, sales tax revenues increased across the region in September. Florida especially has seen a boost in revenues thanks to healthy spending from international tourists.

Manufacturing activity in the region decelerated in September according to the Southeast Purchasing Managers Index (PMI). The decline was the fourth in five months. A few states, namely, Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana, had index readings above the regional measure.

For more state-level data and analysis on the Southeast economy, as well as results from the Retail Sales and Construction and Real Estate surveys, be sure to see the full Data Digest.