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Highlights from the Fed’s latest economic survey

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve’s 12 regional bank districts all grew in September and early October, helped by strength in car sales and manufacturing.

The survey, known as the Beige Book, was released Wednesday and is based on anecdotal information from the Fed’s 12 regional banks. The report covers the period from Aug. 27 until Oct. 7.

Here are some highlights:

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

Businesses saw continued growth, but many were lowering their outlooks. Most manufacturers continued to report revenue growth. Contacts in several sectors cite uncertainty as a key factor restraining demand.

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

Economic growth remained modest, though there were signs of improvement in labor markets. Manufacturers report some deterioration in their assessment of business conditions. Consumer spending has been comparatively robust with auto dealers reporting a brisk business in August and September. Conditions in New York City’s securities industry weakened.

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

Business activity remained mixed with more positive sectors than negative ones, compared with the September report. Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee left hundreds of millions of dollars of damage. Manufacturers still expect a modest rise in orders and shipments over the next six months.

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

Economic activity increased slowly during the past six weeks. Manufacturers reported stable production and retail sales rose slightly. Home builders are turning to multi-family development as a revenue source. The pace of hiring slowed, especially in manufacturing and energy.

RICHMOND (includes Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, D.C., and part of West Virginia):

Business conditions were either weak or weakening in most sectors. Manufacturing activity contracted moderately while retail sales softened. Banking saw a moderate rise in commercial lending, which offset weakness in mortgage lending. Tourism remained strong.

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

Economic activity continued to expand at a modest pace. Overall retail sales slowed in September and early October compared with the previous period although auto sales continued to show solid gains. Tourism remained robust with international visitors bolstering activity in Florida.

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

The pace of economic activity picked up, but business contacts continued to note uncertainty about the economic outlook and expressed concerns about recent financial market developments. Consumer spending was moderately higher and business spending increased slightly. Manufacturing output picked up while prices of corn, soybeans and wheat decreased.

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

Manufacturing continued to increase, but reports on the service sector were mixed. The housing market continued to decline while conditions in commercial real estate varied. Several manufacturers reported plans to open plants or expand operations in the near future.

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

The economy increased modestly. There was stronger activity in consumer spending, tourism, residential and commercial construction and real estate, professional services, manufacturing, energy and mining. Hiring increased slightly while wage pressures remained subdued.

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

The economy improved slightly in late August and September. Retailers and auto dealers reported stronger sales and anticipated further gains in the months ahead. Sales were weaker at restaurants and hotels. Manufacturing activity rose while expectations for gains in farm incomes remained strong.

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

The economy continued to expand at a modest pace. Manufacturing was mixed while retailers noted a recent pick-up in sales. The energy sector continued to expand at a strong pace while agricultural conditions deteriorated. More than 85 percent of Texas was in a severe drought, forcing many ranchers to sell part or all of their herds.

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

Economic activity grew at a moderate pace. Retail sales rose, as did demand for business and consumer services. Home sales and construction remained lackluster. Inflation remained modest with contacts reporting that upward pressure on wages was nearly nonexistent, held down by high unemployment.

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