Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fed Beige Book: "USA Economic Activity Has Continued to Increase" (Review) "Labor markets continued to improve modestly"

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Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building in Washington

The Federal Reserve Board issued the much scrutinized Beige Book on July 27, 2011, effective July 19, 2011. Overall, across the 12 Federal Reserve Districts, "economic activity has continued to increase". The prior Beige Book was released June 8, 2011, effective May 27, 2011. The Federal Reserve wording, and theme plus District reports continues positive regarding economic activity, recovery, and growth - but not as positive as the prior report. As always, the Fed Beige Book, officially titled the Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District, is carefully worded.

USA Financial System
Not as positive as prior report. "Reports on banking conditions were largely mixed across the Districts." and "Banking conditions varied across the Districts, with some Districts noting soft or decreased overall loan demand; credit standards remained tight in most reporting Districts."

USA Jobs Nationwide
Not quite as positive as prior report. "Overall labor market conditions improved modestly across the Districts".

Supply Chain Disruption
Not mentioned in current report. Prior report stated, "Widespread supply disruptions - primarily related to the disaster in Japan - were reported to have substantially reduced the flow of new automobiles into dealers' inventories, which in turn held down sales in some Districts."

Economic Conditions Nationwide by Category Based on Information On or Before July 19, 2011:
Consumer Spending: "Retail sales reports generally indicated a continued rise in spending"
Automobile Sales"generally noted a decrease in recent sales"
Travel and Tourism: "increased across most Districts"
Residential Real Estate: "sluggish housing markets in the months since the homebuyer tax credit expired on April 30"
Commercial Real Estate: "continued to struggle in all twelve Districts"
Agriculture: mixed reports
Natural Resources: "activity in the energy sector increased"
Professional and Nonfinancial Services: "Activity in the services sector improved across most Districts"
Manufacturing activity: "Manufacturing activity continued to expand in most Districts"
Transportation activity: "The five Districts reporting on transportation noted increased activity."
Banking and Finance: "Reports on banking conditions were largely mixed across the Districts"
Employment"Labor market conditions improved gradually in several Districts."
Wages: "Wage pressures remained largely contained across most Districts"
Prices: "Prices of final goods and services were relatively stable in most Districts"

Economic Conditions By Federal Reserve District Based on Information On or Before July 19, 2011
Boston: activity continues to expand overall
New York: economy has shown further signs of strengthening
Philadelphia: economic activity has moved up slightly
Clevelandeconomic activity held steady
Richmond: economic activity mixed or modestly improving
Atlanta: pace of economic activity has slowed somewhat
Chicago: economic activity continued to improve, but rate of improvement slowed further
St. Louis: economic conditions continued to improve
Minneapoliseconomy grew slightly
Kansas City: economy held steady
Dallaseconomy expanded at a moderate pace
San Francisco: economic activity picked up slightly

This July 27, 2011 Beige Book, by district economic activity, is not as positive as the previous May 27, April 13 and March 2, 2011 reports. The March and April reports were the most positive post-recession reports so far. Overall, the District reports were not quite as positive. Atlanta reported "activity slowed somewhat". Two of the 12 districts (Cleveland and Kansas City) reported activity "held steady". Richmond reported "mixed or modestly improving". Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and San Francisco reported slight improvement. Chicago reported "rate of improvement slowed further". That leaves 5 districts where economic growth was increasing, compared to 5 in the prior report.

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