The Fed Beige book "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. " Another line from the release suggested that the "consumer spending appeared to increase on balance despite continued consumer caution that limited nonessential purchases." Ah yes, items like iPhones, non essentials. OK, maybe it is one of a few have to have consumer goods.
"Manufacturing activity expanded further on balance, although the pace of growth appeared to be slower than earlier in the year. Most Districts reported further gains in production activity and sales across a broad spectrum of manufacturing industries." Let us face it though guys, broad based manufacturing like we used to know it in the Western world is gone, how do you compete with the types of wages offered in Asia? Same-same here, as my little one would say. Same-same Dad.
And the survey of sorts, the Beige book still sees a fairly yech looking Real Estate market: "Activity in residential real estate markets declined further. 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." I read on the Business Insider that at the height of the real estate boom, there were something close to 1.4 million realtors. Now, the figure is suggested to be somewhere between 1.2 and 1.1 million. It does not sound like a LOT, but as a percentage it is huge.
OK, as some types have pointed out, the word deceleration was widespread. Errr... I counted three, check it out for yourself: Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District. Two in the general commentary and one in the New York District.
So I decided to do a search on the word gains and lo and behold, 12 matches. I did a search on the word improvement and got 23 matches. Increase got 100 whopping matches. Although an increase in defaults for instance isn't a good thing, but a quick scan suggested that most of the increases were a good thing. And then I searched for decrease and got 28 matches. Last one, the word slow issued me with 65 matches. Better only produced 4 matches. I guess one can be forgiven for feeling a little slow, decreased and decelerated, even if your improvement, increases and gains can offset it a little. Having read it, I feel kinda neutral.