November 2012 Beige Book: Shows Some Manufacturing Contraction

November 28th, 2012
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect: The consolidated economic report from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts (Beige Book) says economic activity "expanded at a measured pace in recent weeks". The previous report said economic activity "expanded modestly".

This appears to mean that the economy grew slower overall in this current period  - mostly attributable to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, but also caused by mixed reports in some sectors. Please see the end of this post for words the Federal Reserve uses when the economy is entering a recession.

Because of the wording of the report, it is not sure that New York region grew in this period, however all other regions grew - and two grew faster whilst 2 slower.  Manufacturing is outright contracting in several regions.

Follow up:

The summary for the 28 November 2012 release reads as follows:

Economic activity expanded at a measured pace in recent weeks, according to reports from contacts in the twelve Federal Reserve Districts. Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco grew at a modest pace, while St. Louis and Minneapolis indicated a somewhat stronger increase in activity. In contrast, Boston reported a slower rate of growth. Weaker conditions in New York were attributed to widespread disruptions at the end of October and into November caused by Hurricane Sandy. Philadelphia reported general weakness that was exacerbated by the hurricane. However, in the Boston and Richmond Districts, the storm's effects were mostly limited. Contacts in a number of Districts expressed concern and uncertainty about the federal budget, especially the fiscal cliff.

Among key sectors, consumer spending grew at a moderate pace in most Districts, while manufacturing weakened, on balance. Seven of the twelve Districts reported either slowing or outright contraction in manufacturing, and two others gave mixed reports. In some cases, such as high-tech equipment and steel production, an industry slowed in one District while strengthening in another. Several Districts reported slight gains in residential and commercial real estate. Travel and tourism varied by District; for example, Minneapolis contacts marked levels of activity above a year ago, and tourism fell in the Kansas City District. Non-financial services also differed among Districts, with Philadelphia businesses indicating softer demand, while firms in other Districts reported pockets of robust demand for professional, scientific, and technical services. In transportation, reports were, again, mixed. In addition, hurricane disruptions slowed freight shipments in some Districts, while simultaneously boosting demand for shipments of emergency supplies. In banking and financial services, higher demand for home mortgage loans and auto loans increased consumer lending in some Districts, although small business loan demand was generally described as weaker to only moderately higher. Credit quality improved on net.

Reports on agricultural conditions were mixed, as drought conditions persisted in several Districts, such as Atlanta, Chicago, and Kansas City; other areas reported solid production and, in some cases, increased investment. In the energy sector, extraction expanded on balance in San Francisco and activity remained at high levels in the Minneapolis and Dallas Districts. However, there were fewer active oil rigs in Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco. In addition, coal production fell in the Cleveland and Kansas City Districts. Most Districts reported modest gains in hiring, while wage and price pressures remained mostly subdued. Employment increased in more than half of the twelve Districts. Wage growth was described as modest at best, constrained in part by an abundant labor supply. However, a few Districts reported pockets of strength in wage growth, notably in North Dakota, where oil drilling had pushed up demand for workers, and in the Kansas City District, where wages were rising for specialized workers in transportation, high-tech, and energy. San Francisco reported stronger wage growth for truck drivers and health-care workers. Price increases, for the most part, remained in line with the modest pace reported in our last assessment. Examples of some exceptions were input prices for construction in Cleveland, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and San Francisco. Richmond reported generally slower retail price increases, and in Chicago, retail food prices eased, except for meats. In contrast, Kansas City contacts indicated that retail prices had edged up.

Click the "source" hyperlink below to read the full report.

Fed's Words When Economy is entering a Recession

For the December 2007 recession, here is the lead up summary words from the Beige Books:

  • 28Nov2007 - "expanding"
  • 16Jan2008 - "increasing moderately"
  • 05Mar2008 - "growth slowed"
  • 16Apr2008 - "weakened"

For the March 2001 recession which ended in November 2001, here are the Beige Book summary words:

  • 17Jan2001 - "economic growth slowed"
  • 07Mar2001 - "sluggish to modest economic growth"
  • 02May2001 - "slow pace of economic activity"
  • 13Jun2001 - "little changed or decelerating"
  • 08Aug2001 - "slow growth or lateral movement"
  • 19Sep2001 - "sluggish"
  • 24Oct2001 - "weak economic activity"
  • 28Nov2001 - "remained soft"
  • 16Jan2002 - "remained weak"

Steven Hansen

Source: Federal Reserve


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