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Federal Reserve Beige Book, April 11, 2012

Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve Districts, April 2012

  • “Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicated that the economy continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace from mid-February through late March. Activity in the Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts grew at a moderate pace, while Cleveland and St. Louis cited modest growth. New York reported that economic growth picked up somewhat. Philadelphia and Richmond cited improving business conditions. The economy in Minneapolis grew at a solid pace and Kansas City’s economy expanded at a faster pace.
    Manufacturing continued to expand in most Districts, with gains noted in automotive and high-technology industries. Manufacturers in many Districts expressed optimism about near-term growth prospects, but they are somewhat concerned about rising petroleum prices. Demand for professional business services showed modest to strong growth and freight volume was mainly higher. Reports on retail spending were positive, with the unusually warm weather being credited for boosting sales in several Districts. While the near-term outlook for household spending was encouraging, contacts in several Districts expressed concerns that rising gas prices could limit discretionary spending in the months to come. New-vehicle sales were reported as strong or strengthening across much of the United States. Tourism increased in most reporting Districts. Residential real estate showed some improvement, with many contacts citing expansion in the construction of multi-family housing. Activity in nonresidential real estate increased or held steady in most Districts. Agricultural conditions were generally favorable. Mining activity expanded and oil extraction rose, while natural gas drilling slowed. Banking conditions were largely stable, with some improvement seen in loan demand. Several Districts reported increased credit quality.”

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