Although these pages report on the regional economy, at the end of the day it's all about understanding what has happened and why, and with that knowledge hopefully contributing to the debate that leads to better outcomes. Sometimes the answers hide from view, but through the search we learn and—hopefully—apply the lessons learned. SouthPoint will spend the rest of the year reflecting on the lessons learned in 2012 and thinking about how best to apply them in 2013.

We'll also be spending time with our families, holding them a little closer, treasuring every moment a little more, and committing ourselves to be even more caring in the future.

Please accept our warmest wishes for a meaningful holiday season –

Photo of Michael ChrisztBy Michael Chriszt, a vice president in the Atlanta Fed's research department