The Federal Reserve has just released its newest Beige Book, and the outlook is more positive than negative. Keep in mind that this on the heels of Ben Bernanke’s testimony to the House today.
Today’s report was prepared at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. More importantly, the cut-off date is on information “collected on or before February 17, 2012.” Overall economic activity continued to increase at a modest to moderate pace in January and early February as follows by district:
- moderate pace in the Cleveland, Chicago, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts;
- St. Louis noted a modest pace of growth;
- Minneapolis characterized the pace of growth as firm;
- activity rose at a somewhat faster pace in the Philadelphia and Atlanta Districts;
- the New York District noted a somewhat slower pace of expansion;
- Boston and Richmond Districts noted that economic activity expanded or improved in most sectors.
The report went on to note that manufacturing activity continued to expand at a steady pace. Hiring increased slightly across several Districts, and many industries faced difficulties finding skilled workers.