Fed's Eighth District, Including Arkansas, Shows Moderate Expansion

by Lance Turner  on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 2:47 pm  

While the industrial real estate market was on the mend in some areas of the district, one Little Rock contact called the industrial market here as a "sleepy sector." Contacts in Memphis, Louisville, Ky., and St. Louis described improving industrial real estate conditions.

Consumer Spending - Retail sales in September and October were up on average compared with the same time last year. Two-thirds of survey contacts reported sales increases; one-third reported sales decreases.

Meanwhile, new store openings and renovations outnumbered store closings during the quarter. Most contacts expected holiday sales to increase compared with last year, and many had hired more seasonal employees than last year.

Reports from auto dealers were "generally positive," the report said, with sales increases from the same time last year. Most said inventories were at desired levels. Forty-two percent of contacts reported increases in high-end vehicle sales; 17 percent reported increases in low-end vehicle sales.

Agriculture and Natural Resources - As of mid-November, the report said, more than 90 percent of the district's corn, sorghum and rice crops had been harvested. Harvest of cotton and soybean crops was 81 and 89 percent complete, respectively.



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