LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Business contacts in the Louisville zone remain optimistic. A February survey suggests 60 percent of contacts expect economic conditions in 2014 to be somewhat better or better than last year; only 12 percent expect that conditions will be worse or somewhat worse.
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/14/03/BB0314Lou.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).
In the fourth quarter of 2013, nonfarm employment in the Louisville MSA exceeded the nation’s growth for the seventh consecutive quarter. Owensboro, Ky., registered both stronger employment growth and a lower unemployment rate than Louisville and the nation.
The Louisville zone’s unemployment rate averaged 7.5 percent in the fourth quarter, down modestly from its third-quarter average (7.7 percent).
Residential construction activity and home sales posted solid gains in most areas. However, house price growth lagged the national rate; increasing by about 3 percent in Louisville and in Evansville, Ind., in 2013 and declining in both Clarksville and Elizabethtown, Ind.
Indiana’s per capita income growth slowed modestly in the third quarter, while Kentucky’s growth picked up at a healthy rate from a year earlier. Indiana and Kentucky households reduced their credit card balances at a rapid rate in the fourth quarter.
Fourth-quarter profits (return on average assets) at Kentucky and Indiana banks were essentially unchanged from the third quarter. Although Indiana banks were more profitable than their Eighth District peers in the fourth quarter, Kentucky banks were less profitable.
Lower commodity prices have put pressure on farm incomes. Indiana and Kentucky coal production in the fourth 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/20140313-burgundybooks.cfm. They are available in both English and Spanish.
The next Burgundy Books will be released on June 24, 2014.