Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fed reports "solid" growth for Colorado region in May

The Beige Book for the Tenth District (Kansas City) of the Federal Reserve system, which includes Colorado, was released today by the Federal Reserve for all districts.

Slowed growth was reported in the New York, Philadelphia Atlanta and Chicago districts. Only the Dallas district was reported to have accelerating growth.

The fed also noted that price inflation is now a factor for household spending and reported that: "[e]levated food and energy prices, as well as unfavorable weather in some parts of the country, were said to be weighing on consumers' propensity to spend"

Nationally, home prices generally waned. According to the report:

Residential real estate sales markets showed continued weakness in most Districts, while rental markets strengthened. Most Districts indicate that home prices have declined since the last report: Boston, Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta, Kansas City, and San Francisco all report some downward drift in selling prices, while reports from the New York and Cleveland Districts indicate that prices have been steady, on balance. No district indicates a general increase in home prices.

The growth that was reported nationally was driven by information technology and business and professional services.

In the Kansas City district, which includes Colorado, growth was described as "solid," and was being driven by the energy sector and by generally favorable conditions in agriculture.

In employment, "[b]usiness contacts were mostly optimistic about future sales, and a number of firms reported increased capital spending and hiring plans. Prices rose more slowly, but wage pressures were limited outside of select industries and occupations with labor shortages."

District real estate conditions were described as "stable but still generally slow." Home sales were up from recent monthly totals, but remained below levels reported during the same period of last year.

Consumer spending grew while manufacturing activity slowed. Banking and real estate was flat, while energy and agriculture were the only sectors showing significantly positive change.

Overall, the report indicated conditions marked by very slow movement in economic growth. Industries overall remained hopeful that hiring and activity would accelerate, but few solid signs of well-established growth trends were evident. Industries plan to hire more workers, although wage levels are likely to change little.

The Tenth District does not stand out as a region with exceptionally strong or weak growth and presently appears to be maintaining recent trends.

The Beige Book is prepared at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and based on information collected on or before May 27, 2011. This document summarizes comments received from businesses and other contacts outside the Federal Reserve and is not a commentary on the views of Federal Reserve officials.