Saturday, October 22, 2011

Fed Beige Book: USA economic activity continued to expand (Review) *Labor market conditions little changed*


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Marriner S. Eccles Federal Reserve Board Building in Washington, D.C.

Summary
The Federal Reserve Board issued the much scrutinized Beige Book on October 19, 2011, effective October 7, 2011. Overall, across the 12 Federal Reserve Districts, "economic activity continued to expand". The prior Beige Book was released September 7, 2011, effective August 26, 2011. The Federal Reserve wording, and theme, plus District reports continues positive regarding USA economic activity, recovery, and growth - and the same 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
Slightly more negative than prior report. "Loan demand by and large moved lower, with the exception of an increase in mortgage refinancing in many Districts."

USA Jobs Nationwide
Slightly more negative than prior report. "Labor market conditions were little changed, on balance."

Economic Conditions Nationwide by Category Based on Information On or Before October 7, 2011:
Consumer Spending: "was up slightly in most Districts"
Automobile Sales: "increases in auto sales"
Travel and Tourism: "generally higher"
NonFinancial Services: "mixed"
Transportation: "increased"
Manufacturing: "increased"
Residential Real Estate: "little changed"
Commercial Real Estate: "little changed"
Agriculture: "Crop conditions at harvest were generally less favorable than a year ago"
Natural Resources: "energy and mining activity continued to strengthen"
Wages: "wage pressures remained subdued"
Prices: "other cost pressures moderated"

Economic Conditions By Federal Reserve District Based on Information On or Before October 7, 2011
Bostonmostly demand growth, but toning down outlooks
New Yorkeconomic growth remained modest
Philadelphia: business activity remained mixed
Clevelandeconomic activity increased slowly
Richmond: business conditions weak or weakening
Atlanta: economic activity continued to expand at modest pace
Chicagopace of economic activity picked up
St. Louismixed
Minneapoliseconomy increased modestly
Kansas Cityeconomy improved slightly
Dallaseconomy continued to expand at modest pace
San Francisco: economic activity grew at modest pace

Conclusion
This October 19, 2011 Beige Book is a more positive report, compared to the previous September 7, 2011 report and other reports in 2011. Overall, the District reports were positive for 9 of the 12 districts: Boston, New York, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco. Philadelphia and St. Louis reported mixed results. Only 1 of the 12 districts, Richmond, reported weak or weakening economic growth.

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