Louisville Burgundy Book: Business Contacts Expect Conditions To Improve During 2014


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Business contacts in the Louisville zone remain optimistic, according to the most recent edition of the Louisville Burgundy Book released today by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. A November survey suggests a larger percentage of contacts expect improving economic conditions in 2014 (49 percent) than worsening conditions (12 percent).

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: https://research.stlouisfed.org/regecon/burgundybooks/13/12/BB1213Lou.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 close to 1.3 million people who live in the Louisville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

Louisville’s third-quarter nonfarm employment growth (compared with a year earlier) surpassed the nation’s growth for the sixth consecutive quarter. In the third quarter, the Louisville zone’s unemployment rate averaged 7.7 percent, down slightly from the second quarter (8.1 percent).

Despite robust export growth, manufacturing employment slipped in the third quarter in Kentucky. Manufacturing activity was a bit stronger in Indiana.

Residential construction activity and single-family house prices posted solid gains in the third quarter in most areas. Activity in the commercial and industrial sphere also continues to improve.

In the second quarter of 2013, Indiana’s per capita income was up a healthy 2.4 percent from a year earlier, appreciably stronger than in Kentucky and the nation. Households in the zone continue to reduce their outstanding mortgage and credit card debt balances.

Third-quarter earnings at Kentucky and Indiana banks were essentially unchanged from the second quarter. Most Louisville zone bankers surveyed expect steady to improving loan demand over the first half of 2014.

This year’s corn and soybean harvests exceeded expectations with record production and yields. Kentucky coal production in the third quarter was up sharply from 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/20131212-burgundybooks.cfm. They are available in both English and Spanish. 

The next Burgundy Books will be released on March 13, 2014.

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