While the economy continued to grow, the pace moderated in many districts, according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, released Wednesday.
“The six districts nearest the Atlantic seaboard reported a slowdown in activity since the previous Beige Book report; activity was little changed in the Atlanta district and unchanged or slightly improved in the Richmond district,” it said.
“Of the other six districts, the Minneapolis district reported political and weather-related disruptions that temporarily slowed growth, and the Dallas district slowed to a moderate pace of growth. The remaining four districts continued to grow modestly. The previous Beige Book reported a slower growth rate for four districts, seven districts growing at a steady pace, and one district with faster growth,” the Beige Book said.
Consumers increased their spending, and the report suggests lower gas prices may have spurred more spending. Retailers continued to be squeezed by price pressures. Tourism has bee stronger “in most areas unaffected by severe weather.” Non-financial service sectors performance was generally better.
“Manufacturing activity expanded overal,” the report said. “Among firms reporting on near-term expectations, the manufacturing outlook remained generally optimistic, but capital spending plans were somewhat more cautious.”
Residential real estate was flat and weak, although the construction and rental sectors were improving.
Labor markets stayed soft although most districts saw modest gains in employment.