Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Beige Book: U.S. Economy Grew at “Modest to Moderate Pace”

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, released today, indicated that from January to early February most districts saw the economy expand at a modest to moderate pace. This expansion was driven by manufacturing, particularly automakers. The report was generally positive and consistent with a slow but steady recovery.

The report noted that manufacturing continues to expand at a “steady” pace across all twelve Federal Reserve Districts. “Most districts reported gains in new orders, shipments, or production.” In addition, several regions reporting gains in capital spending.

“Reports of consumer spending were generally positive except for sales of seasonal items, and the sales outlook for the near future was mostly optimistic.”

Residential real estate conditions improved “somewhat” in most districts. There were several reports of increased home sales and some reports of increased construction. New York was the one exception to the improvement noting “steady to softer” home sales.

Most districts indicated a “slight increase” in hiring activity. Hiring activity was broad based, with a number of industries reporting hiring. However, a number of industries reported difficulty finding qualified workers.

Read the Fed's report.

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