Home » NEWS » Banking & Finance » Fed’s Beige Book notes moderate economic growth in Mississippi’s 2 districts

Fed’s Beige Book notes moderate economic growth in Mississippi’s 2 districts

Metropolitan Bank

Metropolitan Bank

Federal Reserve banks in Atlanta and St. Louis, both of which have Mississippi jurisdictions, report modest gains in economic activity since mid July.

Reporting in the Federal Reserve’s Sept. 4 Beige Book, the Atlanta Fed said business optimism for 2014 exceeds actual gains to this point. “Regardless of the outlook, most firms continue to be optimistic and expect higher growth over the remainder of the year,” the Atlanta Fed reported.

The Atlanta Fed’s economic monitoring takes in the central and southern half of the state, while the St. Louis Fed surveys activity in the northern half. The various Federal Reserve banks survey businesses from all the main sectors in compiling assessments detailed in the Beige Book. The book is published several times yearly.

» READ MORE: Bigger looks better for Mississippi’s banks

For the Atlanta region, retailers noted sales increased from their year-earlier levels and automobile sales continued an upward trend, the report said.

On the real estate front, the Atlanta Fed said brokers and builders reported sales of existing and new homes outpaced last year’s levels.

In Central Mississippi, builders have been challenged in finding materials and skilled workers to keep up with homebuilding demand, according to Curt Gabardi, president & CEO of Ridgeland-based Metropolitan Bank.

He said much of the residential building is focused on first-time homebuyers. “The $225,000 to $250,000 is a very strong market,” Gabardi said, and noted builders are selling the homes before starting construction.

He said residential builders in his bank’s Nashville, Tenn., market have had difficulty obtaining vacant land to meet the housing demand. “The good news for Metro Jackson is that the balance seems just about right, ” Gabardi said. “The balance of supply and absorption of unsold homes here is at a pretty healthy point.”

For commercial real estate, the Atlanta Fed reported improved demand and modest growth in construction.

By contrast, the St. Louis Fed said its region’s commercial and industrial real estate markets have been mixed, with weak demand in Louisville, Ky., for office space and increased demand in St. Louis. Memphis reported stable office vacancy and decreases in both industrial and retail vacancy rates.

Home sales decreased in the St. Louis Fed’s region, with Memphis reporting the highest decline at 6 percent.

Both the Atlanta and St. Louis districts reported modest employment growth, though the Atlanta Fed said businesses still mentioned difficulties in finding qualified workers. The shortage, the reported noted, seems to ne “both intensifying and broadening across skills and occupations.”

Most contacts continued to report “relatively stable” wage growth in the 2 percent to 3 percent range, the Atlanta noted.

For the St. Louis district, 60 percent of contacts reported that wages have stayed the same, while 31 percent reported a slight increase and 8 percent a slight decrease.

 

BEFORE YOU GO…

… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.

If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.

Click for more info

About Ted Carter

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*