US regional highlights from the Federal Reserve's Beige Book economic survey

WASHINGTON – Stronger home construction, increases in consumer spending and steady hiring helped economic growth increase throughout the United States from April through late May, according to a Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday.

That survey found that 11 of the Fed’s banking districts reported “modest to moderate” growth. The 12th district, Dallas, reported strong growth.

The report, known as the Beige Book, is based on anecdotal information gathered by the regional banks.

Here are some highlights.

BOSTON (includes Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and part of Connecticut):

Economic activity expanded. But growth slowed in some fields, including software and information technology. Retailers said consumer demand was rebounding and manufacturers said sales were ahead of last year.

NEW YORK (includes New York and parts of Connecticut and New Jersey):

Economic activity expanded at a moderate pace and the job market improved. Retailers said sales were tepid in April but picked up in early May. Auto sales have remained strong.

PHILADELPHIA (includes Delaware and parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey):

Growth accelerated after several months of generally modest expansion. The district reported stronger growth in residential construction, retail sales and tourism. But manufacturing activity declined slightly.

CLEVELAND (includes Ohio, Kentucky and parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia):

Manufacturing orders and production held steady or rose. Homebuilding remained solid. Retail sales were below expectations but auto sales increased.

RICHMOND (includes Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, District of Columbia and part of West Virginia):

Economic activity was modest but was constrained by weaker manufacturing, federal spending cuts and unusual weather conditions. Retails sales flattened but auto sales remained strong.

ATLANTA (includes Georgia, Alabama, Florida and parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee):

Retailers reported increased sales activity and the hotel industry remained a bright spot. Home sales and prices rose, while the supply of homes available for sale fell. Manufacturers reported growth in new orders.

CHICAGO (includes Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and parts of Illinois and Indiana):

Economic activity expanded at a modest pace and most business contacts were optimistic about the second half of the year. Consumer spending increased, but business spending slowed.

ST. LOUIS (Includes Missouri, Arkansas and Kentucky, and parts of Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee and Mississippi):

Economic activity expanded at a moderate pace with gains in manufacturing and service industries. Retail sales and auto sales have increased while housing showed improvement.

MINNEAPOLIS (includes Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin and Michigan):

Consumer spending, tourism, residential construction and manufacturing increased. Oil and gas exploration firms in North Dakota reported job shortages. Wages rose modestly and overall prices were stable.

KANSAS CITY (includes Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and parts of Missouri and New Mexico):

The economy grew at a modest pace and businesses expected stronger growth this summer. Retail sales and tourism activity increased but auto sales and restaurant sales declined. There was modest growth in manufacturing.

DALLAS (includes Texas and parts of New Mexico and Louisiana):

Economic growth strengthened. Manufacturing reported gains. Home sales and residential construction increased. But drought conditions worsened despite some rain.

SAN FRANCISCO (includes California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Hawaii and Alaska):

Economic activity expanded at a modest pace with price inflation subdued for most goods and services. Retail sales were soft but home sales expanded at a robust pace.