Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Fed's Beige Book: Economic activity continued to expand, "some deceleration"

by Bill McBride on 6/08/2011 02:00:00 PM

Fed's Beige Book:

Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicated that economic activity generally continued to expand since the last report, though a few Districts indicated some deceleration. Some slowing in the pace of growth was noted in the New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Chicago Districts. In contrast, Dallas characterized that region's economy as accelerating. Other Districts indicated that growth continued at a steady pace.
...
Consumer spending was mixed, with most Districts indicating steady to modestly increasing activity. Elevated food and energy prices, as well as unfavorable weather in some parts of the country, were said to be weighing on consumers' propensity to spend. ... 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.
...
Manufacturing activity was reported as continuing to increase since the last report in all but two districts, although many noted that the pace of growth had slowed.
...
Labor market conditions continued to improve gradually across most of the nation, with a number of Districts noting a short supply of workers with specialized technical skills. Wage growth generally remained modest, though there were scattered reports of steeper increases for highly skilled workers in certain occupations.
And on real estate:
Residential real estate sales markets showed continued weakness in most Districts, while rental markets strengthened. Most Districts indicate that home prices have declined since the last report: Boston, Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta, Kansas City, and San Francisco all report some downward drift in selling prices, while reports from the New York and Cleveland Districts indicate that prices have been steady, on balance
...
Commercial and industrial real estate markets have generally been steady since the last report, though there have been scattered signs of a pickup. Commercial leasing markets showed modest signs of improvement in the Richmond and San Francisco Districts. Boston and Dallas noted some firming in property sales markets, but Kansas City reported declines in prices for office buildings.
This was based on data gathered before May 27th.

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