Fed Beige Book excerpts...
-- "On balance, consumer spending rose at a modest pace, although a number of Districts indicated that sales were mixed or below expectations. Several reports indicated that capital spending increased, and expenditures for most business services continued to rise. Employment increased further in most regions and in many sectors of the economy. Most Districts said that residential construction and real estate activity continued to decline. Commercial construction and real estate markets were generally more active than during the previous reporting period. District reports indicated that manufacturing activity continued to expand during June and early July. "
-- "Contacts generally reported ongoing input cost pressures, particularly for petroleum-related inputs, while prices at the retail level continued to increase at a moderate rate. Energy and natural resource activity remained at high levels, or in some instances, rose further."
-- "A number of Districts noted that high gas prices restrained spending; Chicago also noted a negative impact from high food prices, and Dallas mentioned that wet weather depressed sales. Five regions indicated that retail sales of items related to housing--such as furniture and home repair materials--were weak or declining. Retail inventories were generally at desired levels across the country, while Atlanta and San Francisco observed some increases. New vehicle sales in many areas were described as "flat" or "lackluster," although dealers in Philadelphia and Chicago noted some improvement between June and early July."
-- "Most Districts said that residential construction and real estate activity continued to decline on balance. Many Districts, however, noted increased activity in some individual market locales or segments. Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, and Minneapolis said construction decreased. Boston and Kansas City said housing markets remained "soft" and "weak," respectively, while San Francisco indicated that residential markets were weak and had slowed further in some areas. New York said markets were mixed but stable. Two notable exceptions were the Cleveland and Richmond regions, which experienced slight increases in sales. Atlanta said home inventories remained high, as did Dallas (even after a slight decline in the recent period). Inventories increased in Kansas City, but they declined in New York, and contacts in Boston and Cleveland described the number of homes for sale as "normal" and "acceptable."
-- "Contacts generally reported ongoing input cost pressures, particularly for petroleum-related inputs, while prices at the retail level continued to increase at a moderate rate. Notable exceptions were the Richmond District, which reported faster rates of price increases as local businesses passed along higher input costs, and the Kansas City region, which experienced an easing in overall price pressures. Almost every region said that oil and gasoline prices were either rising, high, or "an issue."