Fed calls spending flat, growth modest

Oct. 10, 2012 at 4:55 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. Federal Reserve's Beige Book report released Wednesday said consumer spending had grown flat but the overall recovery was advancing modestly.

Consumer spending is an enormous concern, as it is said to make up as much as 70 percent of the nation's gross domestic product. The Fed, in a report named for the color of its cover, said, consumer spending "was generally reported [from its 12 districts] to be flat to up slightly since the last report."

The Beige Book, a region-by-region assessment of the economy, is released eight times per year.

The report also said, "economic activity generally expanded modestly since the last report."

There were some variations on that theme. The New York District "noted a leveling off in economic activity," the Fed said. The Kansas City District "indicated some slowing in the pace of growth." That leaves 10 districts, where the Fed said, "growth continued at a modest pace."

The Fed described vehicle sales as "stable, but up from a year earlier and generally at favorable levels."

In another bellwether of the health of the economy, the Beige Book said tourism was "fairly robust" around the county. However, tourism was called "softening" in the Kansas City District and "weakening" in some areas of the New York and Dallas districts.

Manufacturing was described as "mixed but, on balance, somewhat improved since the last report."

Manufacturing was expanding in the Boston, Richmond, Va., Atlanta, St. Louis, Kansas City and San Francisco Districts, but slipping around New York, Chicago and Minneapolis.

Financing, a critical bellwether that indicates business growth, included "loan demand ... steady to stronger in most districts."

A few districts reported a weakening of loan restrictions due to "improvements in loan quality or steady to declining delinquency rates."

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