Fed Biege Book: Snow Slowed Economy

The Fed recently released its latest Beige Book, a business survey that helps it decide on interest rates. Among other things, it found that snow hampered economic growth this winter. From the report:

Consumer spending improved slightly in many Districts since the last survey, but severe snowstorms in early February limited activity in some Districts.

Residential real estate markets improved in a number of Districts, although several Districts noted that activity softened or remained weak partly due to extreme winter weather.

Richmond…reported overall housing activity as mixed, but one contact noted that absent the harsh weather, market conditions might have improved. Adverse weather conditions also hampered home sales and construction in the New York, Philadelphia, and Atlanta Districts.

Auto sales were generally reported as flat or down, with a few Districts again noting that some of the sluggishness was likely due to poor weather conditions.

Harsh winter weather continued to dampen overall agricultural activity, although crop conditions were still generally favorable in most Districts.

Lumber prices rose in the Cleveland and Richmond Districts due in large part to weather-related supply issues.

Broadway theatre activity was robust before falling off due to weather in February.

Good thing this report comes out eight times a year, otherwise you’d think the weather was ruining everything.