Federal Reserve reports recession could be easing

A Federal Reserve report issued June 10 provides an overview of the U.S.' economic conditions and found that five of the 12 regions surveyed said "the downward trend is showing signs of moderating," according to USA Today.

Overall, business conditions appeared to be slightly better than reported in the previous survey in mid-April. Several regions said their expectations of future business activity have improved, although they don't expect a "substantial increase" through the end of 2009.

During the final quarter of 2008, the economy shrank at a pace of 6.3 percent—the most in 25 years—and by 5.7 percent during the first three months of 2009, signaling the worst six-month performance in 50 years. However, analysts predict the economy currently is shrinking at a pace between 1 percent and 3 percent, which is an improvement.

The report also revealed manufacturing declined or remained at low levels in most regions surveyed and consumer spending remained soft, although Dallas, New York and Minneapolis reported a slight increase in retail sales. Sales in regions such as Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia and San Francisco were "flat or mixed."

Although the residential housing market still is weak, real estate agents in eight of the 12 regions surveyed—including Chicago, Dallas, New York and Richmond, Va.—reported an uptick in home sales.

In the jobs market, wages were generally flat or falling, and the unemployment rate reached 9.4 percent in May.

Date : 6/16/2009