Louisville Burgundy Book: Growth Strengthens And Business Optimism Returns In Louisville Zone


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – About half of business contacts surveyed in the Louisville zone expressed improving optimism about the local economy over the next three months, according to the most recent edition of the Louisville Burgundy Book released today by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.  Likewise, a sizable minority of contacts expects conditions to be little changed; an even smaller minority of respondents are expecting conditions to worsen slightly during the next three months.

The Burgundy Books offer comprehensive data and information on the economic conditions of each of the St. Louis Fed’s four zones: St. Louis, Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis.  The publication, which is released quarterly, includes the following sections: labor markets, manufacturing, real estate and construction, the household sector, banking and finance, and agriculture and natural resources.  Audio summaries of economic conditions in the zones are also available.

View the entire Louisville report at: research.stlouisfed.org/regecon/burgundybooks/13/06/BB0613Lou.pdf

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 the Louisville report total nonfarm employment in the Louisville MSA increased a healthy 3.2 percent in the first quarter (relative to the same quarter in 2012). This gain far outpaced the U.S. growth rate 1.5 percent). Gains were especially brisk in the manufacturing and leisure and hospitality industries.

The Louisville zone’s unemployment rate averaged 7.9 percent in the first quarter of 2013, a bit higher than the U.S. average. Nonfarm job growth was a bit uneven across the zone, but significantly stronger than the nation’s in Louisville.

Single-family home sales in Louisville in the first quarter of 2013 rose to their highest level since 2007. The industrial real estate market improved as well. House price increases across the zone mostly trailed the nation’s increase. Per capita personal income growth in Indiana remained strong in Indiana relative to the nation and to Kentucky. Mortgage debt continued to decline in the first quarter, as did loan delinquency rates. Kentucky and Indiana banks reported modest declines in bank profitability in the first quarter, mostly due to net interest margin compression. Asset quality continues to improve, though. Recent rains, though slowing spring planting, have dramatically improved pastureland conditions. Indiana and western Kentucky coal production fell sharply in the first quarter of 2013 compared with a year earlier.

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 September 12 and December 12.

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