Economic activity in the Eleventh District expanded slightly over the past six weeks. Manufacturing activity was flat to up, and demand for nonfinancial services increased. Overall retail sales declined slightly on net, although automobile sales remained strong. Real estate activity was flat to up in most markets. Loan demand remained soft. Demand for oilfield services remained depressed, but contacts expect conditions to improve through the end of the year and into 2017. Agricultural conditions were favorable, although crop prices remained low. Reports of employment changes were mixed and prices held steady. Outlooks were generally positive but cautious, with the upcoming presidential election driving some of the uncertainty. Several contacts said they believe the worst of the oil bust slump has passed, but that economic growth has not yet returned to normal levels.
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