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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fed Beige Book: Economic Outlook Cautiously Positive

On Wednesday, the Fed's Beige book was released for July and August. It summarizes reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts and pointed to economic activity that continues to stabilize.

Compared to the summary from the Fed's last report 11 out of 12 regions asserted that economic activity had either stabilized or improved. Even in the 12th region -- St. Louis -- their read-out pointed to a pace of decline that was moderating.

Almost all regions remarked that among business leader contacts in their territories, the economic activity outlook is now cautiously positive.

The reports underscore what we've been reporting here that clunkermania boosted auto showroom traffic and subsequent new car sales in all regions. Several regions confirmed that the program has also resulted in increases or planned increases in automobile-related production. Beyond the auto industry, most regions reported general improvements in manufacturing production.

Most territories also reported improvement in the residential real-estate markets.

It also came as no surprise that with labor markets on the mend, 8 of 12 regions report upticks in demand for temporary workers - usually a leading indicator of a return to job growth.

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