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Highlights from the Fed's latest economic survey

Highlights from the Fed's latest economic survey

July 28th, 2011 by CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer in News

Specialist Michael Pistillo, left, calls out prices Wednesday as he works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

Photo by The Associated Press /News Tribune.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The economy worsened in much of the country earlier this summer, according to a Federal Reserve survey, because of high unemployment, weak home sales and signs of a slowdown in manufacturing.

Growth slowed in eight of the Fed's 12 bank regions in June and early July compared with the spring, the report found. That marked the worst showing this year.

The survey, released Wednesday and known as the Beige Book, is based on anecdotal information from the Fed's 12 regional bank districts. The report covers a roughly seven-week period from May 28 through July 15. Here are some highlights:


(This region covers Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and part of Connecticut.)

Economic activity expanded but was mixed compared with previous reports. Retail sales rose modestly, while housing markets remain "in the doldrums." Hiring is slow, except at advertising and consulting firms. Companies expressed concern about rising uncertainty stemming from political disputes in Washington over government spending and deficits.


(This region covers New York and parts of Connecticut and New Jersey.)

Economic activity has slowed since spring. Retail sales were sturdy in June but mixed in early July. Canadian shoppers have boosted sales at one mall in western New York. Manufacturing companies say growth has slowed.


(Includes Delaware and parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.)

The economy grew sluggishly. Falling home prices have cut into sales of new and previously occupied homes. Manufacturers reported a lull in new orders. Lower gas prices have boosted consumer spending.


(Includes Ohio and parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky.)

Business activity expanded at a modest pace but more slowly than in April and May. Manufacturing output rose slightly. Auto production increased in June as supply disruptions due to Japan's earthquake eased. Job openings increased in manufacturing and professional business services. Home construction remained weak.


(Includes Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington D.C., and parts of West Virginia.)

Business activity was unchanged or slightly improved in most sectors. Commercial real estate activity was weak. Manufacturers reported lower demand for their goods. A steel manufacturer said orders declined in the April-June period, and there was no improvement in July. Tourism in mountain and ocean destinations has picked up.


(Includes Georgia, Alabama, Florida, and parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.)

The economy was little changed in June and July. Home sales and construction were weak. Factory production increased, but more slowly than earlier this year. Hiring plans were modest.


(Includes Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and parts of Illinois and Indiana.)

Economic activity expanded slowly. Consumer and business spending increased. Several manufacturers said they would expand capacity. Renovation of retail stores increased. Jobs were scarce as layoffs increased and unemployment ticked up.


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

The economy grew modestly. Manufacturing activity has increased, and several manufacturers plan to expand operations. Companies in the service sector, such as hotels, entertainment companies and wholesalers, said they would expand and hire more. But companies in the restaurant, government and education industries reported plans to lay off workers.


(Includes Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin and Michigan.)

Economic activity was disrupted by widespread flooding and the 20-day shutdown of Minnesota's government starting July 1. Still, consumer spending, home building and manufacturing all improved. Hiring increased modestly. Tourism was mixed: Summer reservations for RV camping rose in South Dakota, while flooding slowed tourism in North Dakota.


(Includes Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and parts of Missouri and New Mexico.)

The economy expanded moderately. Consumer spending rose at a healthy clip, particularly at restaurants. High-tech and shipping firms reported growth. Auto sales rose, in part because of tornado damage in parts of Oklahoma and Missouri.


(This region covers Texas and parts of New Mexico and Louisiana.)

The region's economy slowed compared with the spring, but grew at a healthy pace. Oil and gas exploration and drilling was strong. Retailers reported a slight increase in sales. High-tech manufacturers said orders grew moderately. Drought conditions worsened.


(This region covers California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Hawaii and Alaska.)

Economic activity grew modestly. Home sales and construction were sluggish. Auto sales declined. Technology services sales expanded, particularly for digital media services for Internet-ready mobile devices.