January 1, 2012
National economic activity expanded at a modest to moderate pace during the period of late November through the end of December.
The reports suggest ongoing improvement in economic conditions in recent months, compared to late spring through early fall.
- Consumer spending was favorable in general. With significant gains in holiday retail sales compared with last year’s season.
- Activity in the travel and tourism sector expanded.
- Demand strengthened further for nonfinancial services, including professional and transportation services.
- Manufacturing activity expanded, generally continuing its steady overall expansion.
- Agricultural producers and extractors of natural resources reported generally robust conditions.
- Residential real estate activity held steady at very low levels. With the only exception being of further increases in the construction of multi-family units.
- Commercial real estate reported stronger demand in the Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, San Francisco, Atlanta and Chicago markets, compared to the earlier 2011 months. The same markets also showed improvement in nonresidential construction activity. Cleveland and Chicago showed the strongest demand. Minneapolis highlighted growing demand for industrial space while San Francisco had growing demand in the technology sector.
- Banking and Finance lending edged up overall, due to increased loan demand from businesses.