The Eleventh District economy expanded at a moderate pace over the past six weeks. Reports on manufacturing activity were mixed. Retail sales were flat to up slightly, while automobile dealers noted a seasonal slowdown in sales. In the nonfinancial services sector, legal and accounting demand increased, and reports from staffing firms were mixed. Rail and cargo firms said activity weakened, but demand was above year-earlier levels. Airlines said passenger demand was flat to up since the last report. Housing demand remained strong and commercial real estate activity improved. Lenders noted flat to moderate growth in loan demand, and activity in the energy sector remained at high levels. Prices remained stable overall, and there were limited reports of wage pressure. Employment levels were steady to up.
Most responding firms noted stable prices, although some transportation service contacts said costs were up due to higher fuel prices. High tech contacts noted downward pressure on prices, particularly for memory devices.
Read more...Dallas Beige Book March 2013 - Dallas Fed