WASHINGTON (9/5/13)--The U.S. economy in the past several weeks has continued to expand at a "modest to moderate pace" during the reporting period of early July through late August, according to the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, an informal scan of the nation's 12 Fed Districts.
The expansion was buoyed by rising consumer spending in most districts. Some districts said that back-to-school sales added to overall consumer spending growth. Retail sales increased moderately in the Boston, Kansas City and Dallas districts. Sales were mixed in New York, and grew more modestly in Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, San Francisco and St. Louis.
In regard to banking and finance, lending activity weakened slightly and several districts reported less-favorable conditions than in the prior reporting period. No better than modest growth was reported in most districts. Slower loan growth than in the prior period was reported in the Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco and St. Louis districts. Kansas City reported a decrease in lending--a reversal from slight growth in the early summer.
Also, lending standards were mostly unchanged, while credit quality improved across all districts.
Hiring held steady or increased slightly in most districts for most industries and occupations. Wage pressures stayed modest overall, with Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Philadelphia and San Francisco reporting mostly subdued wage pressures.
Activity in residential real estate markets increased moderately increased, with the pace of sales of single-family homes continuing to rise in most districts. Demand for nonresidential real estate increased overall.
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