Highlights from the Fed's US economic survey

AP News
Posted: Nov 28, 2012 4:47 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday found the economy grew at a steady pace from October through early November in most parts of the country, helped by a pickup in consumer spending and home sales.

The Fed said growth improved in nine of the Fed's 12 regional banking districts. The other three — Philadelphia, New York and Boston — were affected by Superstorm Sandy.

The report, known as the Beige Book, is based on anecdotal information from the regional districts.

Here are some highlights:

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

The economy expanded more slowly. Retailers cited mixed sales and manufacturers noted slower growth.

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

Economic activity weakened since the last report, largely reflecting widespread disruptions caused by Superstorm Sandy. Retailers reported fairly strong sales in October but said the storm severely hampered activity since then.

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

The economy grew modestly until the end of October, when Sandy slowed business activity and cut power for millions.

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

Manufacturing orders and production both increased, helping the economy grow modestly. Housing and non-residential construction activity improved with particular strength in apartment building. Retailers reported higher sales.

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

Economic activity strengthened. Manufacturing improved and retail sales increased moderately. Mortgage refinancing bolstered consumer lending and home sales rose.

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

Economic activity increased. Retail sales grew mildly. Auto dealers reported stronger sales. Tourism remained robust. But manufacturing activity softened.

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

Economic activity continued to expand slowly. Businesses expressed concerns about pending tax increases and government spending cuts that could take effect in January if lawmakers and the Obama administration don't strike a budget deal before then.

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

The economy expanded at a moderate pace. Retail and auto sales increased over year-earlier levels. Home sales continued to improve while commercial real estate conditions remain mixed.

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

The economy grew moderately, helped by improvement in consumer spending, tourism and professional services. Construction and home sales are increasing at double-digit rates in some areas.

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

Retail sales strengthened and businesses were optimistic that the trend could continue through the holidays. Commercial and residential construction improved, while home prices were expected to rise because of sales gains.

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

The economy expanded modestly with reports on manufacturing and transportation services mixed. Auto sales were flat. Home sales and construction increased and energy production remained robust.

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

Economic activity expanded modestly. Inflation of goods and services remained subdued and upward pressures on wages were limited. Retailers expected sales gains during the holiday shopping season.