Economic activity uneven, Fed says

Jan. 16, 2008 at 5:04 PM
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ATLANTA, Jan. 16 (UPI) -- Economic activity varied across the United States from mid-November through the holiday season, the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta reported.

Some economic sectors remain weak. Residential housing and automobile sales were sluggish during the reporting period, while, overall, economic activity showed modest gains, the report says.

Many cities reported disappointing retail sales through the holiday season. Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New York and San Francisco were among the districts reporting spending that was below the levels of spending a year ago. Kansas City reported "solid" sales, the report said. Sales were up on Minneapolis, Philadelphia and St. Louis.

While automobile sales have slowed compared with a year ago, Minneapolis reported, "strong demand from area farmers," with customers from Canada crossing the border to purchase cars, the report says.

Sales of imports and fuel-efficient vehicles remained strong in some areas. Residential housing sales and related products, such as carpets and curtains, remain slow.

Reports on manufacturing also varied across the country. In Kansas City, manufacturing is expanding. Boston noted strong sales in aircraft equipment and pharmaceuticals. Atlanta and Minneapolis reported strong activity in defense and energy-related manufacturing concerns.

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