The Southeast saw economic growth pick up since the fall, giving it a slight edge in the latest Federal Reserve scorecard.
This month’s Beige Book, released Wednesday, singled out the Atlanta and Chicago districts for reporting accelerating growth since the prior report, issued in early December. Based on confidential interviews and other anecdotal reports, the Beige Books are closely watched for the snapshot into economic trends across the country.
Within the Atlanta report, there were signs of encouragement and worry for Florida. While the Sunshine State was not mentioned, it is the largest economy within the Atlanta district.
The Atlanta district reported sales growth from the holiday shopping season, an uptick in tourism activity, and slightly better manufacturing results. But hiring remains flat, in part thanks to concerns over the Affordable Care Act, and real estate brokers reported a slowdown in sales. Southeast builders reported more optimism.
The Fed says nine of its 12 banking districts described growth as moderate, up from seven in last month’s report. The Atlanta district, which includes Florida, and Chicago were the two districts that said growth had accelerated since the previous report. Only two districts -- Boston and Philadelphia -- said growth was modest, while Kansas City said it “held steady.”
Three-quarters of the districts said shoppers spent more over the winter holidays. And all but Kansas City said manufacturing production grew.
The Beige Book survey is based on anecdotal reports from businesses and will be considered along with other data when the Fed meets next Jan. 28-29.
Miami Herald staff writer Douglas Hanks and the Associated Press contributed to this report.