It hasn’t always been easy to feel optimistic about the economy in 2013. News reports detailing the various federal fiscal crises and sluggish national employment numbers, for starters, have certainly grabbed a lot of attention.
Don’t let yourself give in to the gloom and doom, however. Economic data from the South has consistently demonstrated the region’s ongoing recovery from the Great Recession, and the past few weeks have produced further corroboration.
In a poll conducted in the third quarter by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Southern small business owners indicated their access to capital is improving. For example, 42 percent of those surveyed said they received all of the credit they applied for in the third quarter, up from 28 percent in the first quarter. Only 22 percent indicated they received none of the credit they applied for in the third quarter, down from 31 percent in the first three months of the year.
Furthermore, manufacturing activity in the Southeast grew in October. Last month, the Southeast Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) topped 50 for the ninth time in the past 10 months. The index measures the strength of the manufacturing industry in the area covering Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. A score above 50 means the sector is expanding, while one below 50 means it’s contracting.
Additionally, commercial real estate markets in the South continue to strengthen. The Atlanta, Orlando and South Florida metro areas all have experienced noticeable drops in their industrial vacancy rates. Metro Atlanta ended the third quarter with a vacancy rate of 11.6 percent, down a full percentage point from nine months earlier, according to CoStar. Orlando and South Florida experienced smaller decreases in their industrial vacancy rates, but their rates are lower than Atlanta’s.
These trends are illuminated in more detail in the three infographics below.
We at Lincoln Property Company Southeast are excited about what the improving economy means for the commercial real estate markets in the South, and we look forward to bringing you more economic data on the region each month. In the meantime, we hope you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.