Data File: The Modest Economy

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, in its latest assessment of economic indicators, says the regional economy is advancing at "a very modest rate."

"Economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew at a moderate rate in August while activity in the service sector declined. The labor market remained healthy in July with solid sector payroll employment growth and a low unemployment rate," the Richmond Fed said.

The Richmond Feb oversees a region that runs from South Carolina to Maryland, and includes Virginia and the District.

Here's some highlights of its state-by-state assessments:

In Virginia, the unemployment rates edged up by one-tenth to 3.1 percent. The growth in personal income accelerated in the first quarter as wages climbed, increasing 1.2 percent. Over the past four
quarters real personal income increased a moderate 2.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the delinquency rate on mortgage loans rose to 2.3 percent in the second quarter from 2.0 percent in the first. Delinquencies for conventional prime and subprime mortgages increased in the second quarter by 0.1 and 1.2 percentage points, respectively, to 1.3 and 7.4 percent.

Home sales fell 16.8 percent in the second quarter and are down 15.3 percent over the past year.

"The growth in housing prices continues to moderate with prices increasing just 2.9 percent in the second quarter," the Richmond Fed said. "Over the past year housing prices have risen 3.7 percent."

In Maryland, the unemployment rate rose two-tenths to 4.0 percent. Real personal income rose 1.2 percent in the first quarter due to strong wage gains after increasing 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter. Over
the past four quarters real personal income rose 3.3 percent.

The delinquency rate on mortgage loans rose to 2.6 percent in the second quarter from 2.2 percent in the first. Delinquencies for conventional prime and subprime mortgages increased in the second quarter by 0.2 and 1.2 percentage points, respectively, to 1.5 and 7.4 percent.

Home sales declined 19.7 percent in the second quarter and are down 21.1 percent over the past year. At the same time, house prices grew 3.3 percent in the second quarter and over the past four quarters have increased 4.7 percent.

In the District, the unemployment rate rose by one-tenth to 5.7 percent. Real personal income increased by 1.3 percent in the first quarter. Over the past four quarters real personal income increased 2.8 percent.

The delinquency rate on mortgage loans rose to 2.3 percent in the second quarter from 2.0 percent in the first. The current rate is still slightly lower than the 2.5 percent rate in the fourth quarter. Delinquencies for conventional prime and subprime mortgages increased in the second quarter by 0.2 and 1.4 percentage points, respectively, to 1.6 and 7.0 percent.

"Over the past four quarters, home prices have grown 4.6 percent, considerably slower than the 20 to 25 percent growth rates of late 2004 and 2005," the Richmond Fed said.

By Dan Beyers  |  September 19, 2007; 6:18 PM ET
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