Louisville Burgundy Book: Recovery Continues at a Steady Pace as Manufacturing and Residential Housing Sectors Improve


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Louisville economy registered solid economic growth in the second quarter of 2013, according to the most recent edition of the Louisville Burgundy Book released today by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.  In particular, manufacturing activity continued to strengthen following last year’s lull and home sales rose appreciably from a year earlier. A survey of businesses revealed that a modest majority expect conditions to improve further in the third quarter.

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. 

View the entire Louisville report at: research.stlouisfed.org/regecon/burgundybooks/13/09/BB0913Lou.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).

The Louisville zone’s unemployment rate averaged 8.1 percent in the second quarter of 2013, up slightly from the previous quarter (7.9 percent).  Nonfarm job growth remained uneven across the zone, with the strongest growth registered in Louisville and Owensboro. Manufacturing activity in Louisville has rebounded sharply since late 2012, according to the index of hours worked.

Commercial real estate activity is strengthening in Louisville, as second-quarter vacancy rates fell to their lowest level since 2012. Residential real estate activity also strengthened further in the second quarter, though gains were mostly concentrated in the Louisville area.

Household balance sheets appeared to improve once again in the second quarter, paced by falling delinquency rates and reductions in non-automotive debt balances per capita.

Compared with the first quarter, commercial bank profitability in the second quarter declined modestly among Kentucky banks but increased modestly at Indiana banks.

A recent survey of agricultural banks suggest improving loan demand, farm income, and an expected uptick in capital expenditures in the third quarter compared with the third quarter of 2013.

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/20130912-burgundybooks.cfm. They are available in both English and Spanish. 

The remaining Burgundy Books for 2013 will be released on December 12.


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