Fed Survey: Economy Lost Strength In Late Summer

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A new report from the Federal Reserve provides the latest evidence that economic growth is continuing to slow down across much of the country. According to the Fed's Beige Book — a compilation of data from across the U.S., there were "widespread signs" that economic growth slowed through the summer months.


A new report from the U.S. Federal Reserve provides the latest evidence that the economy is slowing down. According to the Fed's so-called Beige Book - a compilation of data from across the U.S., there were widespread signs that economic growth slowed through the summer months.

NPR's Anthony Brooks reports.

ANTHONY BROOKS: According to the Fed, the biggest weaknesses were in real estate and construction. Home sales were also down following the expiration of those popular home-buyer tax credits. This latest report from the Fed is consistent with a series of recent signs that suggest the recovery is faltering.

Mr. BRIAN BETHUNE (Economist, IHS Global Insight): Including pretty weak business and consumer spending, the housing market continuing to move down.

BROOKS: That's Brian Bethune, an economist with IHS Global Insight near Boston.

The Fed did find evidence, over the summer, that the economy was still growing - but for the most part, very modestly. And Bethune says growth will likely remain subdued this fall.

Mr. BETHUNE: All indications for a pretty weak growth in the third quarter. We're saying about 1.3 percent.

BROOKS: The Fed found signs of modest growth in the five western districts of St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas and San Francisco. Most areas along the Eastern Seaboard, such as New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta, reported mixed or weaker business conditions. Among the few bright spots summer business was up in Cleveland and Boston. The Boston Fed said high-tech companies, manufacturers and the service sector all reported brisker business.

Anthony Brooks, NPR News, Boston.

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