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Banking Beige Book: Highlights from the Fed's U.S. economic survey

Beige Book: Highlights from the Fed’s U.S. economic survey

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Robert Francis
Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.



WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew throughout the country from late May through early July, bolstered by the housing recovery, consumers and more factory output.

A Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday, known as the Beige Book, showed eleven of the Fed banking districts reported “modest to moderate” growth, while the Dallas-based district reported “strong” growth for the second-straight survey.

The report, known as the Beige Book, is based on anecdotal information gathered by the regional banks. Here are some highlights:

DALLAS (includes Texas and parts of New Mexico and Louisiana):

Businesses generally expanded at a stronger pace as home construction and manufacturing picked up. Retail sales were flat and auto sales weakened a bit. Hiring increased at retailers and metal and cement manufacturers.

BOSTON (includes Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and part of Connecticut):

The economy expanded at a moderate pace. Hotel and restaurant sales rose, driven up by business travel and entertaining. Few companies are hiring, though firms in technology and life sciences are adding jobs. Some real estate firms expect rising interest rates will encourage more home sales as buyers seek to lock in lower rates.

NEW YORK (includes New York and parts of Connecticut and New Jersey):

Economic activity expanded at a moderate pace, boosted by housing and tourism. Manhattan hotels reported occupancy rates above 90 percent, similar to a year ago, and healthy revenue growth. Broadway theater attendance remained weak.

PHILADELPHIA (includes Delaware and parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey):

Economic growth was moderate. An auto dealer said sales were “on fire.” Banks lent slightly more than they did in the late April-May period. Manufacturers that supply homebuilders stepped up hiring to meet strong demand.

CLEVELAND (includes Ohio, Kentucky and parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia):

The economy improved at a moderate pace. Hiring picked up in manufacturing and home construction. New car sales so far this year are ahead of last year’s. Mortgage refinancing has fallen as interest rates have increased.

RICHMOND (includes Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, District of Columbia and part of West Virginia):

Economic activity strengthened moderately, boosted by more consumer spending and factory orders. Temporary hiring picked up as many firms were reluctant to add permanent workers. A lumber company executive said this has been the company’s best year since 2007, but added that it won’t hire new full-time workers until next year.

ATLANTA (includes Georgia, Alabama, Florida and parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee):

The economy expanded at a modest pace as auto and home sales rose and hotels and restaurants reported strong demand. Ports in the district said there was significant growth in international trade compared with a year earlier, including exports of natural gas.

CHICAGO (includes Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and parts of Illinois and Indiana):

Business activity expanded at a moderate pace as consumer and business spending increased. Several retailers said health care reform would cause them to hire more part-time and temporary workers. Manufacturing output increased, propelled by the auto industry.

ST. LOUIS (Includes Missouri, Arkansas and Kentucky, and parts of Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and Mississippi):

The economy grew at a moderate pace, driven by greater manufacturing output and home construction. Companies in the auto, auto parts, lumber, bakery, petroleum refining and gun manufacturing industries plan to hire new workers.

MINNEAPOLIS (includes Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin and Michigan):

Economic activity expanded moderately as housing construction grew at a robust pace. Consumer spending also picked up. Still, new boat registrations in Minnesota have fallen 17 percent so far this year compared to last year. And federal government employment in Minnesota in May was at its lowest level in more than 20 years.

KANSAS CITY (includes Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and parts of Missouri and New Mexico):

The district’s economy grew modestly, with housing and agriculture driving the improvement. Consumer spending edged up. The wheat harvest was poor in some areas, while corn and soybean crops were in good condition.

SAN FRANCISCO (includes California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Hawaii and Alaska):

The economy grew modestly, driven by higher consumer spending and improved factory output. Rising demand for software developers boosted their wages. Tourism in Hawaii was robust while it remained soft in Las Vegas.




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