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Level of economic growth varies across 12 districts: Beige Book
April 15, 2015
WASHINGTON (4/16/15)--While all 12 districts tracked by the Federal Reserve in its Beige Book experienced economic expansion from mid-February through the end of March, the rate of growth greatly varied.
Richmond, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas and San Francisco reported a moderate increase in economic activity, while New York, Philadelphia and St. Louis cited only modest growth.
Further, Cleveland reported only a slight increase in the pace of growth, and Kansas City and Atlanta described conditions as steady.
"A majority of districts reported higher retail sales, and they cited consumer savings from lower energy prices as helping boost transactions," the Fed said in its report, which provides a snapshot of economic conditions nationwide.
Residential real estate activity was steady to improving across the majority of districts, "although there was some slowing in housing starts due to abnormal seasonal patterns owing to the harsh weather," the Fed said, adding that most districts noted tight supplies of residential real estate.
The Fed further saw improvement in loan demand across all districts, and described banking conditions as "largely stable." Auto sales also climbed across most districts.
Labor markets either remained stable or continued to improve at a moderate pace; layoffs related to declining oil prices were reported across a number of districts; and the majority of districts reported having difficulty finding skilled workers.
"Districts noted modest upward pressure on wages and overall prices," the Fed added.