Beige Book blue about Midwest, East

By Reuters
Posted Sep. 8, 2010 at 1:35 p.m.

The U.S. economy has shown “widespread signs” of slowing over recent weeks, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in a report suggesting the recovery was faltering along the East Coast and in the Midwest.

The Fed said in its Beige Book compilation of anecdotal reports that modest growth was the most common characterization of economic activity in Fed districts, primarily those in the western and middle portions of the country such as San Francisco, Dallas and Kansas City.
However, other areas, including New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, reported economic growth was mixed or had slowed.

Upward price pressures remain quite limited for most categories of goods and services, and wage pressures were also subdued, the Fed said.

“The reports suggested ample supply of qualified applicants for open positions,” the Beige Book said.

Markets paid the report scant notice as it was seen as confirming that the recovery had flagged over the summer.

On balance, consumer spending appeared to increase though shoppers were limiting themselves to essentials, the Fed said.

The hard-hit housing sector showed further declines after an initial drop following the expiration of a popular tax credit, the Fed said.

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