Commercial Construction Offsets Weak Housing
Commercial construction is partially offsetting weakness from the housing market, says the Federal Reserve's latest beige book, which looks at anecdotal reports of regional economic conditions.
The report shows slight economic growth during the last six weeks, with consumer spending rising at a slow pace in June and July. Higher energy prices and the housing downturn cut into that spending, which hurt retail sales in many of the 12 regions.
Manufacturing was strong on most areas, except for companies that make furniture and other housing related goods.
Rising mortgage delinquency rates and a drop in mortgage demand were seen in a number of regions, including the Philadelphia district; while others, such as the San Francisco Fed, report strong commercial and industrial lending activity.
The Fed's policy makers will take these reports into account when they meet in two weeks to consider interest rates.
Source: Wall Street Journal, Kelly Evans (07/26/07)