Econintersect: The consolidated economic report from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts (Biege Book) says economic activity “increased at a slow to moderate pace”. These are good anti-recession words – please see the end of this post for words the Federal Reserve uses when the economy is entering a recession. Last month’s Beige Book said economic activity “continued to expand”.
Even though it is not clear whether “increased at a slow to moderate pace” is better than “continued to expand”, there was one district with an exception to this slow and moderate pace – the St. Louis Fed reported a decline in economic activity.
The summary for the 30 November 2011 release reads as follows:
Overall economic activity increased at a slow to moderate pace since the previous report across all Federal Reserve Districts except St. Louis, which reported a decline in economic activity. District reports indicated that consumer spending rose modestly during the reporting period. Motor vehicle sales increased in a number of Districts, and tourism showed signs of strength. Business service activity was flat to higher since the previous report. Manufacturing activity expanded at a steady pace across most of the country. Overall bank lending increased slightly since the previous report, and home refinancing grew at a more rapid pace. Changes in credit standards and credit quality varied across Districts. Residential real estate activity generally remained sluggish, and commercial real estate activity remained lackluster across most of the nation. Single family home construction was weak and commercial construction was slow. Districts mostly reported favorable agricultural conditions. Activity in the energy and mining sectors increased since the previous report.
Hiring was generally subdued, although some firms with open positions reported difficulty finding qualified applicants. Wages and salaries remained stable across Districts. Overall price increases remained subdued, and some cost pressures were reported to have eased.
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”
Source: Federal Reserve