BOSTON — Business contacts in the Federal Reserve district centered in Boston are reporting slower rates of economic growth lately, with “mixed” sales results among retailers, “weak growth” in manufacturing and “disappointing” results in software and information technology, according to a Beige Book report released Wednesday.
The report, the latest in a string of periodic assessments of local business conditions, cited “flat” fundamentals in commercial real estate in the Fed’s First District, slowing sales growth but modestly rising prices in residential real estate, and “modest” effects on the New England economy from Hurricane Sandy.
“Prices are said to be level in general, with minimal inflationary pressures,” Fed officials wrote in their report. “While some firms cite shortages of specialized workers, few are hiring, none extensively, and no one mentions upward wage pressures.” Fed officials reported a “pick-up in growth” among staffing firms.
Nationwide, the Fed’s business contacts reported consumer spending grew recently at a moderate pace in most areas while manufacturing weakened.