Fed: U.S. Economic Growth Healthy During the Holidays

federal reserve beige book survey
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesIncoming Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, right, seated alongside current chairman Ben Bernanke.
By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER

WASHINGTON -- A Federal Reserve survey shows economic growth remained healthy in most U.S. regions in late November and December, helped by gains in consumer spending and factory output.

Nine of the Fed's 12 banking districts described growth as moderate, according to the Beige Book survey released Wednesday. That's up from seven districts in October through early November. And two of those districts said growth had accelerated since the previous report.

Only two districts -- Boston and Philadelphia -- said growth was modest, while Kansas City said it "held steady."

Three-quarters of the districts said shoppers spent more over the winter holidays. And all but Kansas City said manufacturing production grew.

The Beige Book survey is based on anecdotal reports from businesses and will be considered along with other data when the Fed meets next Jan. 28-29.

The report showed little signs of the slowdown in hiring that the government reported last week.
The Labor Department said Friday that employers added only 74,000 jobs last month, down from an average of 214,000 in the preceding four months.

The Fed survey, however, said two-thirds of the districts reported increases in hiring. That may bolster the view among many economists that December's hiring slowdown was temporary and partly the result of bad weather.

Still, weaker December job gains could lead the Fed to rethink its recent decision to pull back on some of its stimulus.

Fed policymakers decided last month to cut the monthly purchases to $75 billion from $85 billion and suggested it would further trim its buying in future meetings. The bond purchases are intended to spur more borrowing and spending.

There have been other signs that the economy is growing at a solid pace. Americans increased their spending at retailers in November and December at a faster pace than the previous year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Greater consumer spending is a key reason that most economists expect growth will top 3 percent at an annual rate in the October-December quarter. That would mark a second straight quarter of healthy growth after a 4.1 percent expansion from July through September.

Several districts reported significant improvement in manufacturing, suggesting businesses and consumers are spending more. A manufacturer in the Dallas district said that his company "had too many jobs to bid on ... for the first time since before the recession," according to the Beige Book.

Most districts also said home sales, construction and prices continued to rise. Several districts said the housing recovery was boosting output "all the way from raw materials like lumber to finished products like kitchen cabinets."

However, reports on tourism were more mixed. Atlanta reported healthy increases in hotel room reservations. But hotels in Manhattan said revenues per room in November fell more than 10 percent from a year earlier, the first 12-month decline since the fall of 2012. Travel and tourism were also weaker in Hawaii and Las Vegas.


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scottee

I don't see how $17 trillion in debt is healthy.
I don't see how Washington having no fiscal constraints and too much power is healthy.
I don't see how The Fed printing and diluting our dollar is healthy.
I don't see how The Fed manipulating interest rates, stock prices and gold prices is healthy.
I don't see how being a country of liars and debtors is healthy.

who will audit The Fed and then end it?

January 16 2014 at 8:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jimmy_branch

Jimmy Branch for President---

I will put them all in front of a firing squad for betraying the people and display it on International TV.

January 15 2014 at 7:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rgkarasiewicz

I suppose it depends on one\'s definition of a healthy economy. The banks haven\'t yet confiscated the deposits so there\'s still activity in that respect.

January 15 2014 at 5:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jimmy_branch

Yellen you old bag of S _ _T Greedy Dinosaur give that job to a young person.

January 15 2014 at 4:26 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
jimmy_branch

All the illegals and families of the Bankers who Obummer and the Fed Clown support with their $85 Billion handout a month. Look at the piece of S _ _ t fed Clown smiling all the way to the Bank.

I'm calling on all Militia Branches to organize; it's time to clean OUR White House and give it back to the people.

Enough of the lies and corruption.

Wheres the Tylenol?

January 15 2014 at 4:24 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
createidea

WASHINGTON -- A Federal Reserve survey shows economic growth remained healthy in most U.S. regions ....

LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

January 15 2014 at 3:21 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to createidea's comment
jimmy_branch

The Region of the 1% oops! they left that out.

January 15 2014 at 7:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Valerie

And we all know that the Fed would never lie to us. Right? Right??? Riiiiiiiiight. LOL

Love the photo, though. Yellen looks like a deer frozen in the headlights.

January 15 2014 at 3:19 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply