Louisville Burgundy Book: Regional Economy Shows Moderate Gains


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Labor market conditions were mixed in the Louisville zone, with some areas reporting strong growth and others reporting little growth or modest declines during the fourth quarter of 2012, according to the most recent edition of the Louisville Burgundy Book released today by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.  

The release of the first quarter 2013 edition features an expanded and redesigned version of the publication, which is published quarterly for each of the St. Louis Fed’s four zones: St. Louis, Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis.  The new version of the publication offers more comprehensive data and information on the economic conditions of each zone with the following new or expanded sections: labor markets, manufacturing, real estate and construction, the household sector, banking and finance, agriculture and natural resources and the public sector.

View the entire Louisville report at:

The Louisville zone of the St. Louis Fed’s Eighth District covers 64 counties in western Kentucky and 24 counties in southern Indiana. It represents a total population of close to 3.4 million people, including the close to 1.3 million people who live in the Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA.)

According to the Louisville report, compared with a year earlier, nonfarm employment growth in the Louisville MSA remained strong and well above the nation’s growth rate. The Louisville zone’s unemployment rate averaged 7.8 percent in the fourth quarter, which equaled the nation’s 7.8 percent rate.

In contrast to most other areas, the Louisville MSA experienced strong growth in both the goods- and service-producing sectors. Compared with a year earlier, employment growth during the fourth quarter was especially robust in the trade, transportation and utilities industry, which employs 23 percent of the MSA’s work force.   
The Louisville MSA outperformed most other areas of the zone in real estate activity during the fourth quarter. In particular, new and existing home sales rose sharply and outpaced the nation’s rate by a considerable margin. Gains in house prices and building permits in the fourth quarter were generally weaker.

Per capita personal income growth for Indiana and Kentucky outpaced the nation’s growth during the third quarter. Relatively strong income growth coupled with declining mortgage and credit card balances indicated continued improvement in household balance sheets.

Key performance measures suggested that Kentucky and Indiana banks outperformed their Eighth District counterparts and U.S. peers during the fourth quarter of 2012. While significant improvements in asset quality (falling loan delinquency rates) bolstered earnings in the fourth quarter, bankers in the zone still generally reported soft loan demand.

To view all of the Burgundy Books, see research.stlouisfed.org/regecon/district.html.

In addition, MP3 audio clips of highlights from the Burgundy Books can be heard at stlouisfed.org/newsroom/multimedia/audio/20130314-burgundybooks.cfm. They are available in both English and Spanish.  

The remaining Burgundy Books for 2013 will be released on June 13, September 12 and December 12.

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