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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fed's Beige Book: Pace of economic growth "modest" or "slight""

by Calculated Risk on 10/19/2011 02:00:00 PM

Fed's Beige Book:

Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicate that overall economic activity continued to expand in September, although many Districts described the pace of growth as "modest" or "slight" and contacts generally noted weaker or less certain outlooks for business conditions. The reports suggest that consumer spending was up slightly in most Districts, with auto sales and tourism leading the way in several of them. Business spending increased somewhat, particularly for construction and mining equipment and auto dealer inventories, but many Districts noted restraint in hiring and capital spending plans.
Consumer spending was up slightly in September. The majority of Districts reported increases in auto sales, with the largest improvements in San Francisco and New York.
Respondents indicated that labor market conditions were little changed, on balance, in September. ... Most Districts reported that wage pressures remained subdued.
And on real estate:
All twelve Districts reported that real estate and construction activity was little changed on balance from the prior report. Residential construction remained at low levels, particularly for single-family homes. That said, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Minneapolis noted small increases in single-family construction, and construction of multifamily dwellings continued to increase at a moderate pace in Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco. Home sales remained weak overall, and home prices were reported to be either flat or declining across all of the Districts. In contrast, rental demand continued to rise in a number of Districts.

Commercial real estate conditions remained weak overall, although commercial construction increased at a slow pace in most Districts.
This was based on data gathered on or before October 7th. More sluggish growth ...

Housing Starts increased in September
Rate of increase slows for Key Measures of Inflation in September
AIA: Architecture Billings Index declined in September
2012 Social Security Cost-Of-Living Adjustment approximately 3.6% increase