City A.M. Reporter
US economic conditions stabilised or improved modestly in most parts of the country, according to a Federal Reserve report yesterday that suggested the economy was slowly clawing out of a recession.<br /><br />In its “Beige Book” of anecdotal reports on the economy, which was based on information collected before 13 October, the central bank noted improvement in two of the hardest hit areas – residential real estate and manufacturing.<br /><br />The central bank gave a grim assessment of commercial real estate, which is widely seen as one of the big remaining trouble spots for the still-struggling financial sector.<br /><br />Labour markets were typically characterised as weak or mixed, although there were “occasional pockets of improvement”. That assessment supported the view that the worst of the job losses are over, but it may be a while before growth resumes.<br /><br />The report said the “cash for clunkers” car sales incentive programme left depleted inventories and slower sales in its wake. Overall spending remained weak in most districts, although “some improvements” were noted. The government’s $8,000 (£4,418) first-time homebuyers’ tax credit also helped to lift sales of low- to middle-priced houses, the Fed said.