Highlights from the Fed's economic survey

AP News
Posted: Apr 11, 2012 4:24 PM
Highlights from the Fed's economic survey

A Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday found steady economic growth and hiring throughout the United States in late February and March.

The survey, known as the Beige Book, suggests weaker job growth in March may prove to be temporary. The report is based on anecdotal information from the Fed's 12 regional banks.

Here are some highlights:

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

Economic activity expanded at a moderate pace. Retailers, manufacturers and consulting and advertising firms reported higher revenues. Retailers expressed concerns about rising energy prices.

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

Growth picked up since the last survey. Hiring conditions were stable to slightly stronger in recent weeks. A sizable number of businesses said they plan to add workers in the months ahead. Manufacturers report steady improvement.

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

Business activity showed slow, steady improvement. Motor vehicle dealers experienced strong sales growth in February, but their sales were less robust in March.

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

The economy in the region grew at a modest pace. Manufacturers reported a small increase in production. Residential and nonresidential construction picked up slightly. Many retailers and auto dealers said February sales were good.

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

Business conditions improved since the last survey. Manufacturing activity grew. Retail sales rose sharply as more people shopped and purchased big-ticket items. Unseasonably warm weather bolstered tourism.

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

Economic activity expanded at a moderate pace. Businesses expressed concerns about higher energy prices. But leisure and hospitality businesses reported robust activity in all segments except cruise lines.

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

Growth in consumer spending picked up and business spending increased. The pace of manufacturing was little changed, while construction activity increased. Soybean and cattle prices rose while corn, wheat, mile and hog prices decreased.

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

The economy grew at a modest pace. Residential and commercial real estate sales improved moderately. Manufacturing reports were mixed _ some companies increased operations, while others closed plants and laid off workers.

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

The economy grew at a solid pace. Consumer spending rose, while professional services, construction, manufacturing, energy, mining and agriculture all improved. Home sales rose more than expected. Warm weather slowed winter tourism activity.

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

The economy expanded at a faster pace. Consumer spending improved, home sales rose solidly and commercial real estate activity edged higher. Growth in the energy industry eased slightly but remained solid. Manufacturing reported further increases.

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

The economy grew at a moderate pace. Manufacturing activity grew and demand for business services rose slightly. The housing sector showed improvement. Retail sales grew at a modest pace. Energy activity stayed strong. Rainfall eased drought conditions in many parts of the district.

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

Economic activity expanded at a moderate pace. Despite higher energy prices, overall price pressures remained modest as did wage gains. Retail sales and demand for business and consumer services rose. Activity in housing markets strengthened modestly.