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St. Louis Burgundy Book: Improving Economic Conditions and Rising Optimism for the St. Louis Zone


ST. LOUIS –According to a February survey, about two-thirds of St. Louis area business contacts expect that local economic conditions will be better this year than last year. The percentage of respondents who expect conditions to worsen was significantly lower than three months earlier.

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:

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 people who live in the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

Employment growth across the zone’s MSAs was mostly positive in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared with a year earlier. The zone’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent in the fourth quarter, its lowest level in five years.

Missouri and the St. Louis MSA added manufacturing jobs in the fourth quarter of 2013, but Illinois experienced a decline for the third consecutive quarter.

The residential housing and nonresidential property markets improved further in the fourth quarter of 2013. In St. Louis, the industrial market vacancy rate in the fourth quarter was at its lowest level since 2008.

For the second straight quarter, growth of per capita personal income for Missouri and Illinois outpaced the nation’s growth. Mortgage and credit card balances fell in the fourth quarter, but at a slower pace than in the third quarter.

Bank profitability at Missouri and southern Illinois banks improved modestly in the fourth quarter compared with three months earlier. Southern Illinois banks remained somewhat less profitable than their U.S. peers.

Expectations for lower farm income over the first quarter of 2014 were widespread, according to a survey of agricultural bankers. Coal production rose sharply in the fourth quarter of 2013.

To view all of the Burgundy Books, see:

In addition, MP3 audio clips of highlights from the Burgundy Books can be heard at They are available in both English and Spanish. 

The next Burgundy Books will be released on June 24, 2014.