Overall economic activity increased somewhat in March across all Federal Reserve Districts except St. Louis, according to the latest Federal Reserve Beige Book. St. Louis reported \”softened\” economic conditions.
Manufacturing activity increased across most of the country, with all Districts other than St. Louis reporting increases in orders, shipments, or production. Chicago reported gains across most segments, including metals and fabrication, auto or auto component production, and energy-related products.
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For construction-related goods, Chicago and Dallas reported mixed conditions, Boston reported flat activity and St. Louis reported decreases. Overall, St. Louis saw more plant closures than plant openings.
Residential construction activity increased slightly in New York, Atlanta, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Dallas, but remained weak in Cleveland, Chicago and San Francisco. Commercial construction continued to be weak in most Districts.
Activity in the banking and finance sector was mixed in a number of Districts, as loan volumes and credit quality decreased. Agricultural conditions were mixed as well, with positive conditions reported in Districts from the central and western parts of the country, while negative conditions were reported in the mid and southern Atlantic Districts. Mining and energy production and exploration increased for metals, oil and wind.