NEW YORK – The economy grew at “a modest to moderate pace” in January and February, according to the Beige Book reports of activity from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts.

Cleveland, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco termed economic activity expansion as “moderate,” while St. Louis called growth “modest.”

Minneapolis reported “firm” growth, while the economy was moving  “at a somewhat faster pace” in Philadelphia and Atlanta. New York District saw “a somewhat slower pace of expansion, whiled Boston and Richmond reported economic activity expanded or improved in most sectors.

Manufacturing was expanding steadily across the U.S., as “many” districts saw gains in new orders, shipments, or production and “several” seeing rises in capital spending, especially in auto-related industries.

Nonfinancial services were stable or better.

Consumer spending was “generally positive except for sales of seasonal items, and the sales outlook for the near future was mostly optimistic.”

Tourism stayed strong in some districts, but dropped in Minneapolis and Kansas City because of below normal snowfall.

Residential real estate markets showed some improvement in most districts, with reports of more home sales and some rises in construction. “Commercial real estate markets also showed positive results in some districts,” according to the report.

“Hiring increased slightly across several districts, and contacts in a variety of industries faced difficulties finding skilled workers,” the report said. “Wage pressures were generally contained, and prices of final goods remained stable, although contacts in some districts anticipate passing rising input prices through to consumer prices.”

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