The economy was still growing in August, though not quite as robustly as it had been earlier in the year, the Federal Reserve's monthly "Beige Book" report on business conditions nationwide said Wednesday.
"Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggested continued growth in national economic activity during the reporting period of mid-July through the end of August, but with widespread signs of a deceleration compared with preceding periods," declared the report, prepared by the San Francisco Fed based on reports from businesses and outside economists.
Growth was "modest" in St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco, and Boston and Cleveland reported improvement in economic growth.But New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta, and Chicago were reporting mixed conditions or declines.
The Fed said consumer spending appeared to increase despite "continued consumer caution that limited nonessential purchases." Wage and price pressures remained subdued.
In the housing sector, the Fed reported "Most District reports highlighted evidence of very low or declining home sales, which many attributed to a sustained lull following the expiration of the homebuyer tax credit at the end of June."
The Fed said New York and Dallas noted that the expiration of the tax credit created especially weak conditions for lower-priced homes, while Philadelphia and Kansas City identified the high end of the market as the primary weak spot.
Residential construction activity declined in most areas in response to weak demand. Reports from Cleveland, St. Louis, and Minneapolis indicated that residential construction activity improved of late.
Home prices were largely stable, though Richmond reported sales dominated by short sales and foreclosures and Chicago reporting an increase in foreclosures for sale. Boston, Minneapolis and San Francisco reporting rising prices.