Economic activity in the Northeast and Midwest is becoming more vigorous as these regions of the U.S. emerge from a difficult winter. According to Moody’s Analytics, new residential construction permits surged in March in the Northeast after declining significantly in both January and February. Payroll employment growth in the Midwest posted its strongest rate of growth for the year in April. The Federal Reserve’s manufacturing indices for both the Northeast and Midwest rebounded handsomely in April and May flowing periods of decline or slow growth during the year’s initial quarter.
Despite all that, growth in America continues to be led by the South and the West. Southern unemployment dipped below 6 percent in April for the first time since late 2008. Home sales and prices are up in much of the nation, but particularly in the West where investors have helped to prop up prices in Arizona, Nevada and in portions of southern California.
Wage growth in the West also tends to be stronger than in the balance of the country. Locally, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia have each emerged as among the slowest growing regional economies in the nation, with much of Maryland’s economic growth concentrated in the Baltimore area.