Fed Beige Book: Slow to Moderate Economic Growth

by CoyDavidson on November 30, 2011

Summary of Economic Conditions

The economy expanded at a “moderate” pace in 11 of 12 districts, led by gains in manufacturing and consumer spending but hiring was weak, according to a Federal Reserve report released Wednesday.

“Overall economic activity increased at a slow to moderate pace since the previous report across all Federal Reserve Districts except St. Louis, which reported a decline in economic activity,” the Fed said in its Beige Book survey.

Commercial Real Estate

Commercial real estate markets remained sluggish across most of the nation. Boston, New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, and San Francisco indicated roughly unchanged activity. Atlanta and Kansas City noted slight improvement. Philadelphia and Dallas indicated mixed activity. However, Richmond and St. Louis noted that vacancy rates increased. Commercial construction was somewhat mixed. Cleveland saw steady to slowly improving commercial construction; Chicago and Minneapolis experienced modest to moderate increases. New York and Philadelphia noted generally weak conditions; Richmond and St. Louis reported slow activity, although industrial construction picked up.

Eleventh District–Dallas

The Eleventh District economy grew at a modest pace since the last report. Manufacturing activity held steady or declined, while demand for business services was flat. Activity in the transportation services sector was mixed. Retailers said sales growth moderated. The single-family housing sector saw continued improvement, and activity in the multifamily sector was strong. Office, retail and industrial leasing activity increased, but commercial real estate investment activity remained sluggish. Financial services respondents said overall loan demand was soft during the reporting period. The energy industry continued to expand at a robust pace, while agricultural conditions remained weak. Employment levels were stable at most responding firms and price pressures were mostly subdued.

Fed Beige Book – November 2011

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