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Highlights from the Fed's US economic survey

Highlights from the Fed's US economic survey

June 7th, 2012 by CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer in News

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday found that the economy grew moderately in most regions of the country this spring and companies continued to hire.

It provided a more optimistic take on the economy than the picture that emerged from a spate of gloomy data released last week.

The report is based on anecdotal information from the Fed's 12 regional banks and covers the period from April 3 to May 25.

Here are some highlights:

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

The economy is growing at a steady pace. Home sales are showing signs of recovery for the first time. Software and information technology companies are adding jobs, but few others are doing much hiring.

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

Growth continued at a moderate pace. Hiring has improved. A limited supply of apartments has driven up rents and made home buying more attractive. Tourism activity is robust, driving up hotel revenues. Ticket prices and attendance on Broadway rose and theater revenue is much higher than a year ago.

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

Growth slowed slightly in the spring compared to late winter. Previously owned home sales have risen. Theme parks are attracting a rising number of foreign visitors, particularly from China. Job postings have risen at universities. Staffing firms say employers aren't pushing hard to fill jobs.

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

Manufacturing production has been stable, while construction has grown. Exploration for and production of shale gas has expanded. Retailers said the unusually warm, dry weather boosted retail sales. Businesses are seeking more loans, a sign of expansion.

RICHMOND (includes Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, District of Columbia and part of West Virginia):

Economic growth improved modestly. Bank lending grew slowly. A gas turbine producer said Europe's financial crisis and the region's slowing economy had cut into exports. The company plans to cut 10 percent of its workers this summer. Several manufacturers said that lower government spending has caused recent order cancellations.

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

Most businesses are optimistic, but uncertainties remain about the potential impact of Europe's economic slowdown. Auto sales remained strong. Florida benefited from visitors from South America and Canada. Cruise-line bookings declined slightly compared to the winter. Uncertainty about the economy's future limited hiring.

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

Manufacturing output and construction rose. Consumer spending on necessities increased, while spending on large items such as furniture, appliances and electronics decreased. Auto and steel manufacturing were sources of strength. Steel factories were operating at their highest levels of capacity since the end of the recession.

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

Growth continued at a modest pace. Home sales increased compared to the same period a year earlier. They rose 13 percent in Louisville, Ky. compared to a year ago, 20 percent in Memphis, Tenn. and 18 percent in St. Louis. Home construction also rose. Many crops were planted ahead of schedule, partly because of mild weather.

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

The economy grew at a modest pace. Several companies reported big job gains. Oil and gas exploration increased in North Dakota and Montana since the winter. Manufacturers reported problems with finding welders.

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

The economy improved moderately. Retailers and restaurants are reporting higher sales. Farmland values continued to climb. Businesses sought more loans. Drilling for natural gas is slowing because there is too much supply and not much room to store it.

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

Growth in the energy sector remained strong, and home sales continued to improve. Hiring rose slightly. Many companies expressed concern about uncertainty surrounding future U.S. tax and budget policies, and about the European financial crisis. High-tech manufacturers said orders are still growing.

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

Economic activity grew at a moderate pace. Auto sales rose. Demand for semiconductor chips increased. Radio and television broadcasters reported healthier advertising sales. Tourism improved in Nevada, Hawaii and Southern California.