The economy continued to expand "modestly" in most districts, while New York was leveling off and Kansas City was slowing, the Beige Book says. Last month, the Beige Book said the economy was expanding 'gradually' in most districts.
Regarding the employment sector, most Districts reported that employment levels were "flat or up slightly", with stagnant demand and uncertainty related to the upcoming presidential election, U.S. fiscal policy, and European debt issues cited by some as restraining hiring. Upward wage pressure "remained modest" across Districts.
Most districts reported improvement in housing, while manufacturing is mixed but somewhere improved. Consumer spending was generally even or in some cases up slightly in September while retail sales were expanding modestly in most Districts.
Price pressures remained "subdued" for both finished good and inputs across most areas of the country, despite higher prices were cited by some Districts for agricultural commodities and petroleum-based products, the report says.
The Beige Book survey, released two weeks before each policy meeting, is based on information gathered by officials at the Fed's 12 regional banks. Today's report was prepared based on information collected on or before September 28, 2012 by the New York Fed, and will be used for discussions at the next policy meeting, October 23-24 meeting.