April Beige Book Reports Overall Activity Down Across Arkansas, 8th District

Overall business activity in the Federal Reserve's Eighth District, which includes Arkansas, is down slightly, according to the central bank's April "Beige Book" report released Wednesday.

Read the full report here (PDF). 

The report shows a net decrease in manufacturing activity across the district, a decrease in residential real estate activity, mixed results in commercial real estate and a decrease in lending from district banks.

Nationally, the April book reports increased consumer spending and manufacturing across most of the Federal Reserve's 12 districts. The Eighth District, based in St. Louis, includes all of Arkansas, most of Missouri, and parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi.

Other Eighth District highlights from the April report:

  • Little Rock was the only major district metro to show an increase (7 percent) in the sale of new and existing homes for January 2014. The district's major metros are St. Louis, Louisville, Memphis and Little Rock.
  • Year-to-date housing permits for February were down in all but one metro (Memphis was up 14 percent), with Little Rock down 23 percent.
  • Total deposits increased 0.5 percent from mid-December to mid-March.
  • District farmers are expected to plant 1 million fewer acres of corn in 2014 (down 4 percent from 2013) but more acres of soybeans (2 percent increase) and rice (37.6 percent increase).