The Federal Reserve Bank came out with its “Beige Book” — describing which parts of the country are likely to see a rise, or a drop, in activity.
The Beige Book report breaks down economic condition in the 12 Federal Reserve Bank districts marked by cities that are the sites of the Reserve Banks. When the economic conditions show signs of increase, that’s usually followed by an increase in jobs.
Some highlights from the report:
- The New York, Cleveland, Kansas City and San Francisco regions are showing “signs of stabilization. “
- Chicago and St. Louis reported that the pace of economic decline appeared to be “moderating.”
- Boston, Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta and Dallas described activity as “slow,” “subdued” or “weak.”
- Minneapolis was the only region that indicated its downward slide in economic activity had worsened.
That’s the overall picture. The Fed also breaks down activity in economic sectors. For instance:
- Boston, Kansas City and San Francisco reported retail activity described as “modest increases or less negative.”
- Philadelphia, Atlanta, St. Louis, New York and Dallas regions reported “flat or mixed sales.” The remaining Fed regions described retail sales as “soft.”
- Auto sales were mixed; travel and tourism was down almost across the board.
- For manufacturing, Richmond, Chicago and Kansas City showed some improvement. St. Louis and Dallas said the rate of decline in factory activity is moderating. The Philadelphia and Minneapolis regions saw manufacturing activity drop, while the rest of the regions described activity at “low levels.”
- Residential real estate remained “soft” in most Fed regions, and commercial real estate dropped.
In a related story, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its report on what it calls the Employment Cost Index — essentially, the rise or fall in what it costs employers to provide wages and benefits.
DOL’s statistics for the 2nd quarter of ’09 show a rise of 0.3%, about the same as the figure for the 1st quarter. That measurement nearly matches the 0.2% figure estimated by economic forecaster Global Insight.
Click here to see the Fed’s full Beige Book summary.