Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve districts indicated that economic activity generally continued to expand since the last report, though a few districts indicated some deceleration.
Some slowing in the pace of growth was noted in the New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Chicago districts. In contrast, Dallas characterized that region’s economy as accelerating. Other districts indicated that growth continued at a steady pace.
Manufacturing activity continued to expand in most parts of the country, though a number of districts noted some slowing in the pace of growth. Activity in the non-financial service sectors expanded at a steady pace, led by industries related to information technology and business and professional services.
Consumer spending was mixed, with most districts indicating steady to modestly increasing activity. Elevated food and energy prices, as well as unfavorable weather in some parts of the country, were said to be weighing on consumers’ propensity to spend.
Auto sales were mixed but fairly robust in most of the country, though some slowing was noted in the Northeast. Widespread supply disruptions — primarily related to the disaster in Japan — were reported to have substantially reduced the flow of new automobiles into dealers’ inventories, which in turn held down sales in some districts.
Widespread shortages of used cars were also reported to be driving up prices. Tourism activity improved in most districts.
Residential construction and real estate continued to show widespread weakness, except in the rental segment, where market conditions have strengthened and construction activity and development have picked up.
Nonresidential real estate leasing markets have been generally stable, while construction activity has remained very subdued.