ST. LOUIS – Business contacts surveyed in the St. Louis zone expressed moderate optimism about local economic conditions in 2014, according to the most recent edition of the St. Louis Burgundy Book released today by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. A little more than half believe that the economy will improve next year, while only about a quarter expect conditions will worsen.
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 St. Louis report at: https://research.stlouisfed.org/regecon/burgundybooks/13/12/BB1213StL.pdf
The St. Louis region covers 71 counties in eastern Missouri and 45 counties in southern Illinois. It represents a total population of approximately 5.6 million people, including close to 3 million who live in the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).
Employment growth throughout the zone’s MSAs continues to be positive. The zone’s unemployment rate averaged 7.1 percent in the third quarter, down 0.2 percentage points from the second quarter.
Missouri and the St. Louis MSA added manufacturing jobs in the third quarter of 2013, but the year-to-year gains have been more modest—or flat in the case of St. Louis. Anecdotal reports suggest that the pace of manufacturing activity has been tempered by poor export growth.
Single-family building permits continued to increase across all major MSAs in the third quarter, and house prices moved higher. The consensus outlook for 2014 is cautiously positive.
Although growth of per capita personal income in the second quarter for Missouri and Illinois outpaced that of the nation, scattered data and anecdotal evidence suggest that consumers remained cautious spenders in the third quarter.
Bank profitability was essentially unchanged in the St. Louis zone in the third quarter. Most bankers expect loan demand to stay the same or increase during the next three months.
Corn, sorghum and soybean production was exceptional for both Illinois and Missouri in 2013 compared with last year’s harvest.
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.