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Highlights from the Fed's US economic survey

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[September 05, 2013]  WASHINGTON (AP) -- Consumers helped drive steady economic growth throughout the United States this summer, buying more cars and homes.

A Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday showed that all 12 of the Fed's regional banking districts reported modest to moderate growth from July through late August. That's roughly in line with the Fed's previous survey of those districts from late May through early July.

The report, known as the Beige Book, is based on anecdotal information gather by the regional banks. Here are some highlights.

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

Economic activity expanded at a moderate pace. Higher mortgage rates have nudged some buyers into the market, boosting home sales. Hiring remains subdued except among fast-growing technology firms.

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

The economy grew moderately and the job market showed improvement. Retailers reported that sales picked up. Auto sales strengthened.

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

Economic growth continued at a moderate pace, helped by more home sales and construction. Auto sales were strong. Manufacturing expanded.

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

Businesses reported moderate economic growth, noting more demand for manufactured products. The housing market has leveled off after a six-month period of strong growth. Retailers were disappointed with sales in June and July.

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

Economic conditions improved moderately with manufacturing shipments and orders increasing. But retail sales weakened outside of robust auto sales. Tourist sites reported good attendance.

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

Economic conditions improved modestly. Most businesses reported positive outlooks for the rest of 2013. Travel and tourism remained a bright spot. Housing sales continued to gain but manufacturers cited a drop in orders.

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

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Economic activity improved in July and August. Consumer and business spending picked up. Manufacturing and construction both showed gains. Most businesses expect moderate growth for the rest of the year.

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

The economy expanded moderately with positive reports on manufacturing and the service sector. Home sales improved while retail sales and auto sales showed gains.

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

The economy was helped by stronger consumer spending, tourism and residential and commercial real estate. Construction, manufacturing, the energy sector and farming also showed gains. Companies hired more workers than they laid off.

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

The economy expanded moderately with further gains anticipated in coming months. Strong retail and auto sales fueled consumer spending. District manufacturing picked up and some plant managers hired additional workers.

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

Sales grew for firms in residential construction, retail, accounting, fabricated metals, food and autos. The energy sector noted a flattening in activity but at high levels. Drought conditions were offset somewhat by recent rains.

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

Economic activity expanded modestly with price inflation subdued for most goods and services. Wage gains were very modest. Retail sales were up while there was more mixed demand for business and consumer services.

[Associated Press; By MARTIN CRUTSINGER]

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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