Fed's Beige Book: Recovery Proceeding At Modest Pace

2011-10-20 15:40:00

The U.S. economy continued to expand in September, although the pace of growth was "modest" or "slight" in a number of regions, according to the Federal Reserve's Beige Book.

The Fed's Beige Book, which gathers anecdotal information on current economic conditions, is published eight times a year.

Respondents generally noted weaker or less certain outlooks for business conditions across the nation.

In keeping with recent government figures, consumer spending was up slightly in most of the Fed's twelve districts, but weakness in the housing market remained a major drag on U.S. growth.

Business spending increased somewhat, helping drive gains in manufacturing, but many regions saw restraint in hiring and capital spending plans, the Beige Book said.

Contacts reported that a weaker and more uncertain economic outlook had increased caution and was weighing on future spending plans.

Auto sales were up, as dealers were back on-line following supply disruptions caused by Japan's tsunami earlier this years. The largest improvements in car sales were seen in the San Francisco and New York districts.

Back-to-school sales were described as being fairly strong in New York and satisfactory in Richmond, while tourism was up marginally in the major destinations.