Bloomberg News

Summary of Economic Reports by Federal Reserve District Banks

October 19, 2011

(Accompanies overview story summarizing latest Federal Reserve regional economic survey. See NI FED <GO>)

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Following is a summary of U.S. economic conditions as reported by the 12 Federal Reserve district banks in the central bank’s latest regional survey, also known as the beige book.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago prepared the latest report. Information was collected on or before Oct. 7.

Boston: “Business contacts in the First District mostly continue to see demand growth, but many are toning down their outlooks. Contacted retailers’ year-over-year percentage sales changes range from low single digit declines to high single- digit increases. Responses from manufacturers are mixed, but most continue to report revenue growth.”

New York: “Economic growth in the Second District has remained modest since the last report, though there have been some signs of improvement in the labor market. Manufacturers report some further deterioration in their assessment of overall business conditions but note that orders, shipments and employment levels have been stable.”

Philadelphia: “Business activity in the Third District has remained mixed, with more positive sectors than negative ones compared with the previous Beige Book. In late August and early September, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee left dozens of people injured or dead, damaged or destroyed thousands of homes, and cost hundreds of millions of dollars in disruption and damage throughout much of the Third District.”

Cleveland: “Economic activity in the Fourth District increased slowly during the past six weeks. Manufacturers reported stable production but a small decline in new orders and backlogs. Energy companies noted little change in output. Freight transport volume trended slightly higher. Retail sales rose slightly, whereas new-car purchases were reported as mixed.”

Richmond: “Business conditions in the Fifth District were either weak or weakening in most sectors since our last report. Manufacturing activity contracted moderately in September, after pulling back markedly in August. Retail sales also softened. In addition, activity at non-retail services firms began to decline. Both residential and commercial real estate activity remained near the weak levels seen in recent months.”

Atlanta: “Business contacts in the Sixth District indicated that economic activity continued to expand at a modest pace in September and early October. Merchants noted that retail sales decelerated slightly compared with the previous month, although auto sales continued to advance at a solid pace. Tourism activity remained robust throughout most of the District.”

Chicago: “The pace of economic activity in the Seventh District picked up some in September. However, contacts continued to note uncertainty about the economic outlook and expressed concerns about recent financial market developments. Consumer spending was moderately higher and business spending increased slightly.”

St. Louis: “Reports from contacts in the Eighth District have been mixed since our previous survey. Manufacturing activity has continued to increase, while reports of activity in the services sector have been mixed. Residential real estate market activity has continued to decline, while commercial real estate market conditions varied across the District.”

Minneapolis: “The Ninth District economy increased modestly since the last report. Increased activity was noted in consumer spending, tourism, residential and commercial construction, residential and commercial real estate, professional services, manufacturing, energy and mining. Hiring at district companies increased slightly, while wage pressures remained generally subdued.”

Kansas City: “The Tenth District economy improved slightly in late August and September. Retailers and auto dealers reported stronger sales and anticipated further gains in the months ahead. Sales were weaker at restaurants and hotels, leading to pessimism in these industries as the holiday season approaches.”

Dallas: “The Eleventh District economy continued to expand at a modest pace since the last report. Manufacturing activity was mixed. Service sector activity held mostly steady, although retailers noted a recent pick-up in sales. There were some signs of improvement in the housing sector, and apartment demand remained brisk.”

San Francisco: “Economic activity in the Twelfth District grew at a moderate pace during the reporting period of September through early October. Upward price pressures were mixed but remained modest overall, and upward wage pressures were limited to a narrow set of skilled occupations. Sales of retail items rose, as did demand for business and consumer services.”

--Editors: Kevin Costelloe, Paul Badertscher

To contact the reporter on this story: Vincent Del Giudice in Washington at vdelgiudice@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net


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